|International Society for Horticultural Science|
Horticulture Research International
The climate varies with altitude, humid and warm to cold and semiarid. Although the whole of Bolivia is situated in an area between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn it undergoes all the climates of the world. The temperature is affected not only by the latitude, but also by the height above sea level; the higher it is, the lower temperature, and vice versa. For this reason, although Bolivia is situated in an area of tropical temperatures, there are mountain tops which are covered with permanent snow and where the temperature is extremely low, while, on the same line of latitude there are plains with a semi-tropical climate. So, within the same stretch of territory and at the same latitude, different temperatures can be found at the same time. In Chara¤a, an area bordering on Chile, at eight o'clock in the morning there are temperatures of -20 or -3 °C, while in Puerto Su rez - at the same time and on the same latitude the thermometer rises to 24 °C.
Bolivia is a non coastline country, and it has a surface area of 1,098,581 km2. It can be divided into three main geographical regions: The Andes region, The lower Andes regions (Central valleys), and The lowland plains of the Amazon Basin. The Andes region covers 28% of the extension of Bolivia. There are the Western Mountain range that runs in a NW-SE direction, with isolated peaks generally conical in form which are volcanic in origin; the Eastern or "Real" Mountain range, which crosses Bolivia from the north-west to the south-east and it greatly affects the weather in the regions it passes through (In the north-east the weather is wetter as it is influenced by winds from the Amazon bringing clouds which are blocked by the great mass of mountains. The south-west part has a lower average rain fall and for this reason the vegetation is richer and more varied in the north-east than in the south-west). The High-Plateau is a part of Andes region too, that has an average height of 3750 m above sea level. The Titicaca lake, the world's highest navigable lake is placed in this region (elevation 3,805 m) and the provinces of La Paz, Oruro and Potos¡.
The lower Andes regions (Central Valleys) that are placed in the center of Bolivia, when the Eastern or Real Mountains begins to drop in height. This valleys which are delightful in color, have a temperate climate all year round. The provinces of Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Tarija belongs to this region.
The plains in the north, east and the south of Bolivia, covers more than 50% of country surface. The height of Bolivian plains oscillates from 500 to 250 m above sea level. The temperature in this area is 25 °C in average and rainfall is about 1350 mm. The largest navigable rivers are in these lowlands.
Until 1986, the production of tin and other minerals was the basis of the Bolivian economy. Nowadays, Bolivia is looking to other fields - in mining, livestock and fish farming, and the agricultural industry - to level its balance of payments. The agriculture sector contributes with 17% to GDP, but only 2% of total surface is arable land and 53% consists of forests and woodland.
Bolivia is a very known center of biodiversity for tubers, beans, maize, peppers and pumpkins. Since the Incas period, many of these species have been cultivated until now for food use and some for its medicinal properties. The most of production of horticulture is consumed fresh by local and regional markets, and a small part is processed by industry, in the last years some fruits as bananas have found a small market of exportation to a limiting number of countries.
Distribution of Horticulture
Due to its geographical characteristics, Bolivia produces a range of agricultural products from the tropics, the warm valley areas and the high mountains. Best quality coffee is grown in the Yungas area (high and cloudy but shiny culture lands), although the most part of horticultural products are produced in the central valleys as vegetables, fruits and flowers. The pigweed plant or quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) which grains have high content of protein, the potatoes, barley, oats and beans are cultivated in the high plateau. The plains have the most important land areas for industrial crops as corn, sunflower, peanut, sugar cane, soybean, rice and other tropical fruits as citrus, bananas or avocado.
Until 1996, the Bolivian Institute for Agriculture and Livestock Technology (IBTA) was the center, "the engine" for the policies and strategies for research and development of this field. With the assist of the Ministry of Agriculture, IBTA was the leader of research in the three geographical regions with Research Stations along the country. Actually, IBTA does not exist anymore, and some projects and research stations were privatized. Universities were transformed in foundations.
Since 1996, a new governmental structure with an important reduction of state expenses, oriented the new policies to conservation of natural resources and environment and created the "Agrarian Superintendence" which have as objective the control of land use (sustainable use) and its property. Actually there are a few traditional centres of research, which are looking for the technology transference. The genetic improvement has risen the yields of many crops, but until now it does not enough to fight against the poverty.
Nature of Institutes
The technologic development of agriculture and livestock has had constrictions and as a result only very small changes on productivity of important sectors have been made. The most important constriction has been the vulnerability of the ex-Bolivian Institute of Agriculture and Livestock Technology to political changes, and the governmental policies forgot specific links of the agroalimentary chain as post-harvest, processing and marketing. Then, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development has decided to create the Bolivian System of Agriculture and Livestock Technology which objective is to promote the sustainable development of agriculture and livestock production through four foundations for develop its technology. These foundations have coincidence with the Major Eco-regions in the country: the Andean (high plateau) Region, the Valleys, the Chaco region and the Humid Tropical lands Foundation. These institutions are privates, and its Directory have as components the most representative political and economic regional leaders. Anyway, two or three agriculture centers of research and its research stations, have concentrated the main activity due to its traditional and long time during: Pairumani Centre for Phytoecogenetic Research, Foundation for the Research and Promotion of Andean Products (PROINPA), Agroindustrial Technology Centre (before Programa Agroqu¡mico), and Tropical Agriculture Research Centre (CIAT).
Organisations / Institutes:
Pairumani Centre for Phytoecogenetic Research
Foundation for the Research and Promotion of Andean Products (PROINPA)
Agroindustrial Technology Center (before Programa Agroqu¡mico)