Llama Llamas of the Altiplano

We had another very productive day today. First, we met with Willy Choque, a recognized agronomist who used to work at FAUTAPO and now is the Director of Scientific Investigation for the Technical University of Oruro. He really liked our idea of building a fertilizer business and was very encouraging of our model. He offered to run a pilot program through the University on the PAWS (Passive Aeration Windrow System) compost system that Jessica Davis from CSU Manure Management Department suggested we implement given the low level of effort needed in this composting technique.

Following our meeting with the University we met with Bolivian Government program for camelids named VALE, Programa de Apoyo a la Valorizacion de la Economia Campesina de Camelidos. This program works in the rural areas of Bolivia, specifically in the sector of llamas, alpacas and vicunas. They have 3 main components:

1. Wild Camelid Management

2. Infrastructure Development

3. Productive Entrepreneurship – this component is where we see overlap. They are working with llama farmers in developing their value chains of fiber, meat and leather. They both really liked our idea of commercializing the llama manure as well. However, they confirmed our main roadblock at this point- transportation will probably be prohibitive. But, they gave us hope; they suggested we look into intermediaries or collectors, as well as establishing collection centers where the organic farmers in need of compost can come buy it.

Some interesting facts about llama products:

  • 1 kilo of llama meat (depending on the cut) is approximately $3.50 USD
  • 1 kilo of llama jerky is approximately $20 USD
  • 1 llama lives approximately 8 years

In the afternoon, we went outside of the city to Vinto. Vinto is home to the largest tin foundry in Bolivia and this is the town where PCI has its Oruro offices. Here, we met with Saul Camacho, the Director of PCI in Oruro and we discussed the amount of supply that we will have through the MIS Llamas project, as well as defining the details for our trip to the field next week. Below are some pictures of today meeting with PCI’s team.

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About Siembra Orgánica

This is a blog about the venture launch of an organic fertilizer business to help organic quinoa farmers in Bolivia created by three Colorado State University MBA Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise students. We will post updates on our travels and research in Bolivia this summer and our adventures in bringing this idea into reality. We are passionate about helping rural Bolivian organic farmers and believe that helping provide essential agricultural inputs will change their lives for the better.
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