Sierra Productiva: Small innovations breaking big ground
Take these tiny innovations and picture the change they signify for the life of a small-scale farmer – Amazing! Now picture that they become available for a whole country – I feel something groundbreaking is about to develop!
But how come?
Going back, Sierra Productiva was a project that was launched in collaboration with the Institute for an Agrarian Alternative (Instituto para una Alternativa Agraria – IAA) and the Siemens Stiftung in 2011. The project supports sustainable development opportunities for indigenous rural population in the Regions Canas / Cusco highlands and Ica / Pisco in the coastal region of Peru. A total of nearly 370 families from 11 municipalities and 3 districts participated, all structurally weak areas with a population living from subsistence farming. Within a period of three years, Sierra Productiva provided these families with 18 simple technical innovations that allowed them to strengthen their agricultural production. Here, each of the proposed technologies was based on the existing biodiversity and was organized and implemented in close coordination with the local farming families.
How does it work?
Thee 18 simple technical innovations include a solar cooker, biogas digester, hydroponic forage, cultivation in greenhouses and a drip irrigation system. Let’s look closer at the latter of these wonderful examples to illustrate how these technologies can help.
Take David Flores’ family from Tamburco. They own approximately one hectare of land where David keeps cattle and grows crops for his own use. Previously David had to buy the livestock feed on the market. Thanks to the simple technology of drip irrigation, he can now let his cows graze all year round. His cows, which used to produce one liter of milk a day, now provide 5 liters, some even 10 or 15. David can thus boost his milk production completely without the use of chemicals and can sell the surplus milk and self-made dairy products, as well as flowers and vegetables. His income has increased by a multiple, summing up to an impressive amount of 5,400 soles a month (1,400 Euros). This can now be invested in educating his children.
In July 2016, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office as Peru’s new president, and shortly after, reaffirmed his commitment to fostering development opportunities for the country’s peasant population. Particularly delighting was his proposition to make Sierra Productiva, the indigenous-led development concept, supported by Siemens Stiftung since 2011, to become a flagship project under his government. This is not only a significant step towards inclusive development, underlining the government’s willingness to uphold a participative democracy but also a great chance for the cultural and social inclusive development for thousands of families, which may now be on the rise.
About the author:
Julia Wachsmann is part of the Siemens Stiftung team since 2009. She is working in the field of Development Cooperation and is responsible for the social venture projects in Latin America. Julia studied Spanish and German Languages & Literature at the University of Regensburg and has several years of professional experience in communication and social responsibility at the Siemens AG.