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Incentive-based catchment treatment [Bolivia, Plurinational State of]

approaches_2404 - Bolivia, Plurinational State of

Completeness: 89%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

A project supported, incentive-based approach: farmers are sensitised about erosion, and involved in gully control and other measures to protect catchments.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The objective of the locally-based organisation Programa de Manejo Integral de Cuencas (PROMIC) is to involve land users in the control of soil erosion in the catchments above Cochabamba city. While erosion here is largely a natural process, it is aggravated by inappropriate agricultural practices. PROMIC receives funds from national and international governments, and works in an interactive manner. Together with local farmers, erosion processes in the context of the human environment were analysed to identify the needs of the agriculture population - and to plan a conservation and development programme. The aim was to convince farmers of the necessity to protect their agricultural land and stabilise the gullies below, and of the overall importance of implementing technologies to combat erosion.

Role of stakeholders: The farmers were involved in the process through regular community meetings organised by PROMIC, in which they could adjust PROMIC's catchment intervention plans to their own requirements through an interactive process. PROMIC considered that the sensitisation work and the interactive process were essential to ensure long-term sustainable land use. In the short term, however, it will be mainly the city downstream - Cochabamba - that benefits from the implementation of the erosion control technologies. For that reason, the farmers were paid to carry out construction of the measures (through 'cash-for-work'). The farmers should, however, profit from the technologies in the long term. They were taught how to build and maintain check dams, cut-off drains and biotrampas. The implementation in the watershed started in 1996 and took six years: when the implementation phase was over, farmers no longer received financial subsidies. The long period of sensitisation should help to ensure that farmers incorporate erosion prevention technologies into their cropland above the gullies. PROMIC still monitors the state of the structures from time to time, but most of the maintenance is left to the farmers themselves. PROMIC continues, however, to provide technical support and some transport of materials. Both internal and external evaluation followed the end of the implementation phase.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied


Bolivia, Plurinational State of

Region/ State/ Province:

Cochabamba district

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

- teach farmers about sustainable land use, - build up skills amongst farmers to enable them to treat gullies without outside help, - reduce flooding and sedimentation in the valley of Cochabamba and general soil loss in the area through collaboration with farmers in the watershed, - improve traditional agriculture with a package of conservation-related practices, - indirectly support farmers by cash-for-work incentives which enables them to implement SWC technologies on their own fields

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: - lack of knowledge about damage caused by erosion and benefits of various possible conservation technologies, - lack of financial resources: shortage of funds prevents farmers investing in technologies, even if these bring benefits to them (as well as to the downstream population), - persistence of detrimental traditional agricultural practices, leading to accelerated degradation

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Few direct short-term profits from SWC technologies in gullies for the farmers in the watershed (the main beneficiary is the city of Cochabamba downstream).

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Search for national and international subsidies to help the farmers to implement the technologies during the initial period.

institutional setting
  • hindering

The local farmers' association is insufficiently organised to ensure the independent continuation of activities post-project.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Local farmers' association should be included in the sensitisation and implementation process.

  • hindering

Climate: Climatic extremes such as strong winds and excess or deficit of rain.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Plant trees at close spacing, and plant trees/ shrubs that can tolerate climatic extremes.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

There were no women working in the gully rehabilitation. The reason is a cultural taboo against women working with heavy materials; women are responsible for looking after cattle, and for the household.

  • community-based organizations

Local farmers association

  • Specialised engineers of PROMIC
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation passive interviews/questionnaires, information during regular meetings, entrevistas / cuestionarios
planning interactive results of the socio-economic diagnosis defined the planning; farmers were involved through regular meetings: interactive planning at individual and community level
implementation external support None
monitoring/ evaluation passive interviews/questionnaires; internal and external evaluations where farmers were interviewed
Research passive socio-economic diagnosis; collection and analysis of bio-physical baseline data

3.3 Flow chart (if available)


General assembly: National and international public and private institutions, members, foundation
Directory: Prefecture, general agent, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), private enterpreneurs
Consulting council: Municipalities, projects, universities
Advisors: General agent, marketing, SSU1, SSU2 (see below), administration
SSU: Strategic service unit
Services: Executive body for technology extension and implementation: PROMIC field technicians

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Were decisions on the selection of the Technology(ies) made:
  • Made by specialised engineers of PROMIC

farmers were involved by modifying initially proposed technologies.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by Made by specialised engineers of PROMIC

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Form of training:
  • on-the-job
Subjects covered:

The approach included training on technical aspects and on long-term planning for sustainable land use. Some farmers were trained to become foremen - who in turn instructed other farmers. During the construction period PROMIC project staff trained farmers on the job in soil conservation practices.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Name of method used for advisory service: participatory planning of gully treatment; Key elements: making farmers aware of the environmental and economic necessity for the technology, interactive planning of technology implementation at individual and community levels

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, moderately
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • capacity building/ training

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



There were few changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: The approach was to initially target groups. Later, individuals were included (with individual farmer-family visits) to improve the effectiveness of the awareness raising and the implementation.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • sociology
  • ecology
  • technology
  • S
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Research was done on 1)SWC (testing different measures), 2)various soil parameters, and 3) a socio-economic survey. Research was an important part, not only for planning (based on biophysical and socio-economic data), but also to stay in contact with the rural population and to obtain their confidence. Thanks to the research, the technology is well adapted to the biophysical conditions.

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: government (national): 20.0%; international non-government: 80.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • labour
To which extent Specify subsidies
fully financed labour for the rehabilitation of the gully area
  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
machinery fully financed
tools fully financed
  • agricultural
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
seedlings fully financed
  • infrastructure
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
roads fully financed community infrastructure
technical support fully financed
  • other
Other (specify) To which extent Specify subsidies
transport for further technology implementation fully financed
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • paid in cash

100% of the implementation was subsidised. Farmers were contracted to build the structures

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The approach resulted in a considerable improvement in SWC. However, despite new knowledge about erosion, the farmers themselves hardly carry out any new gully conservation work without payment, and in the long term maintenance is not ensured.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Some other projects in Bolivia have copied parts of PROMIC's approach.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • uncertain

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Good technical support during and after conclusion of the implementation phase (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Technical support not enough on its own - needs to be complemented by further sensitisation.)
Sensitisation of the farmers to erosion and degradation processes, and awareness creation about the impact and necessity of SWC in the hills to protect the valleys (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continued sensitisation work after the implementation phase.)
Transparent process during research, planning and implementation phases; incorporation of farmers' ideas (thus: good acceptance of PROMIC by the rural population).
Integration of farmers in the process of implementation of soil conservation. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Farmers need to be even more integrated in the process of monitoring to guarantee the maintenance of the soil conservation achieved.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Farmers implementing SWC are not those benefiting most from the impact in the short term; even though the city of Cochabamba benefits considerably, financial support for implementation has stopped Seek financial support from Cochabamba; implement a system of payment for environmental services
Lack of money for replication and long-term maintenance of SWC measures Guarantee financial support in the threatened area, by the local government and international organisations.
Sensitisation phase (for farmers and government) was too short to ensure sustained application of the technology without external support and supply. Established structures are often neglected and thus deteriorate Find new donors to continue the training/awareness raising on SWC technologies. Include the farmers in the monitoring visits and demonstrate examples of successful SWC (positive stimuli).

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

PROMIC documentation

Available from where? Costs?

Mooseggstrasse 9, 3550 Langnau, Switzerland;

Links and modules

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