Understanding the decline of organic fertilizer use in the Altiplano

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This poster presents some results of a multi-disciplinary research program sponsored by the SANREM-CRSP that is examining ways that Andean farmers can adapt to climate change. Its focus is on the reasons for the decline in the use of manures in potato production in the Altiplano of Bolivia. Traditional Andean potato production systems rely on long fallow periods and the application of manure to maintain soil fertility. Organic fertilizers like manure can help mitigate the impacts of climate change by increasing water retention and by buffering temperature changes. Manure use has been declining in parts of the Altiplano however. Twenty years ago nearly all farmers in the region used manure for potato production but now there are some communities where less than 25% of households use manure. The research presented here examines how the relationship between family resources, income, labor availability and livestock ownership are related to a decline in the use of manure among Andean producers.

Manure, Organic farming, Altiplano, Climate change, Potatoes, Ecosystem
Poster presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society, Climate Change and Societal Response: Livelihoods, Communities, and the Environment, Madison, Wisconsin, 30 July - 2 August 2009