Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) in Cochabamba, Bolivia provides training and tools to rural farmers to improve nutrition and increase food security. This project is managed by our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional.

In spite of pandemic-related restrictions on in-person training at the CEA during several months of 2021, 336 farmers attended 18 workshops on soil management, natural pest control and fertilizers, nutrition/sanitation, and hydroponic methods of food production. In addition, Mano a Mano’s agronomist provided 16 workshops on these topics to 154 agronomists and 137 agronomy students. We increased our focus on training agronomy professionals who will work directly with farmers in their own communities, thus expanding Bolivia’s capacity to teach and practice sustainable agriculture throughout its subsistence farming regions.

The CEA provided on-site internships for a total of 7 agronomy students who conducted several experiments, including trials of various hydroponic methods and greenhouse structures designed for Bolivia’s wide variations in altitude and climate. Building on initial experiments, students tested the use of locally available, low-cost hydroponic and greenhouse construction materials, attempting to make it feasible for very low income farmers to use these alternative methods to increase crop production. Members of the 28 families who built new greenhouses with CEA assistance in Corani Pampa last year told the agronomist that they had never had access to fresh vegetables until the first harvest from their greenhouse. They said, “Our families eat everything we grow in our greenhouses. There are many, many vegetables. They make our children smart.”

Agriculture education & training is supported by interns from agronomy/ecology/agriculture schools in Bolivia. We hosted 7 interns in 2021. One of last year’s interns involved his fellow students in constructing one of the low-cost hydroponic structures that emerged from the CEA experiments. Eterazama, the training Institute he attends, now teaches this production technique to other students. CEA’s agronomist plans to build a portable replica of this low-cost structure so it can be transported to on-site workshops in rural communities and to other training institutions.

3 of Mano a Mano’s counterpart organizations have programs based out of this space in El Abra on the outskirts of Cochabamba. Mano a Mano Bolivia also has their main office/warehouse about a mile away, and Mano a Mano Aviation has their hangar space at Jorge Wilstermann, the primary airport of Cochabamba.

More Information About Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture in 2021:

Pictures From CEA Programs in 2021