Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:
A young Bolivian leader at the summit on food security
Agronomist Diego Moscoso Balanza proposed a permaculture design.
Diego Moscoso Balanza was one of the more than 100 young people from around the world who participated in the World Agricultural Youth Summit held in Australia in August. His proposal focuses on improving the living conditions of small producers, so that they do not migrate to the city.
The summit aimed to debate and generate new alternatives that contribute to solving the problems facing regarding modern agriculture and food security. The proposals focus on the role that science and modern agriculture have to feed the planet today and in the coming decades.
This young 24-year paceño graduated in agricultural engineering from the El Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School of Honduras, at the end of 2013. The project is called “functional design to stop migration of farmers” and was one of 87 chosen out of 2,000 presented from 87 countries.
Since college he leaned to the issue of sustainable production. Currently working on Microfinance for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (MEBA), a program of the United Nations Environment and the Frankfurt School.
The Bolivian project
“In our context there is an impressive migration from rural areas to the city, because it has a bad reputation because it is a very hard job with little financial reward. The problem is that small farmers have little organization,” Moscoso said.
According to the delegate of Bolivia at the summit, organized by Bayer CropScience and the Future Farmers Network, the lack of organization makes that the intermediaries who buy their production at bargain prices, are the ones who sell in the city markets at a higher price, obtaining the profits.
The inability of small farmers to increase production and move it to the market, resulting in little profit makes his work not worth the effort. Faced with this panorama migration becomes the best alternative, as presented by Moscoso.
The children of farmers, are the ones who conclude that stay in their places of origin does not offer life changing in the future.
The design he did, focuses on permaculture, a system of early agricultural and social-centered simulation or the use of patterns and characteristics observed in natural ecosystems design.
In preparing his proposal, the young professional chose a location near Caracato, Loayza province in the department of La Paz. A place whose land was almost deserted after a damaged surface by a landslide 40 years ago.
According to his approach, it first tries to break the idea that fertilizers are the magic solution to production, as it is an alternative that lasts a few years and eventually demand more consumption and costs.
The idea is that for three years water infiltrates below ground to irrigate the land and to establish water reservoirs and put trees that surround these reservoirs. Then cover crops are established to nurture the land.
“From this, we propose to make an edible forest. Once the soil is nurtured, vegetables, small trees and then large ones are planted. Not being a monoculture, productivity in that space can be up to five times higher per hectare,” explains.
In a period of five years it is expected to have this area with citrus, watermelon, cantaloupe, figs, pineapples, date palm, banana and plants that serve to shade the fruit.
Once you achieve the results, the technique will be shown to farmers in the area so they can apply it in their land. The ultimate goal is to improve their quality of life, and that neither they nor their children will have to migrate.
Proposals to the UN
From the proposals at the summit, it was established that to bring about change in the world, five goals must be must met five: to revalue agriculture, educate societies, innovate -through the exchange of information on agricultural needs and solutions among countries-, develop a global youth movement to create a platform and develop leaders, and promote responsible consumption with better education and the use of natural resources.
The targets are part of a statement to be presented this month to the Committee on World Food Security of the UN. Each of the objectives is supported by solutions and actions, having the delegates assigned specific roles to motivate a change in the industry.
Specifications & Details
Delegates will continue communication connected through the Youth Ag-Network, an online platform exclusively for delegates, to help these young leaders to keep in touch, as well as supported and continue to learn from each other.
Bayer Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health, agriculture and high-performance polymeric materials.
People like Diego are needed badly in Bolivia. I welcome Diego Moscoso Balanza to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!