After exactly one month in Bolivia, I too am now leaving the country. It has really been a wonderful experience and I believe that Siembra Organica made incredible strides in making our venture become a reality. My last two days here were very interesting, in very different ways…Wednesday was literally spent on a bus all day trying to get around the still-present miners blockade on the highway from Oruro to La Paz. It was frustrating, time consuming but after 9 hours on the bus (on a trip that should take 4 hours), we arrived safe and sound in La Paz on Wednesday night.
Trying to make up for lost time, I was a busy bee yesterday meeting with core partners PCI and Andean Naturals again and also with a few new contacts that proved to be very useful. The new contacts were:
- Ximena Jáuregui Paz from USAID’s Bolivia Productivity and Competitiveness Project talked to me about her experience working on a project with campesinos near lake Titicaca who are making vermicompost out of cow manure. In particular, she explained the logical and technical components involved in the project’s next step, with is building a processing center for the community members to clean, sort, package and label their product.
- A representative SAFI UNION, an investment fund in Bolivia, spoke with me about the fund’s latest product called AGROQUINUA, financing for organic quinoa producers who work in conjunction with exporting companies. The product will not be on the market for another few months but will certainly be a valuable component for the entire organic quinoa industry.
Today I’m off to visit Lake Titicaca and then to Peru for the next month, but Siembra Organica will continue to post photos, videos and reflections about our project!