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From subsistence farming to cooperative farming
What approach does Sierra Productiva take?
Despite positive economic development in recent years, a substantial social imbalance still prevails in Peru. While poverty has decreased significantly in cities, over half of those living in rural areas have no access to public healthcare or a safe water supply and still live in poverty. The indigenous population, in particular, is largely excluded from economic growth.
In the Sierra Productiva project, whose name means “productive Andean highlands,” Siemens Stiftung and the Instituto para una Alternativa Agraria (IAA) help small farmers in the poorest regions of Peru implement 18 simple technical innovations to improve their situation, taking environmental, economic, and social aspects into account.
What are the key elements of Sierra Productiva?
- 18 innovations for strengthening small-scale agricultural production
Over a period of three years, small-scale farmers receive assistance in implementing 18 different development steps, for example, in the areas of irrigation, energy supply, and agriculture. Traditional knowledge from their own culture is combined with new findings. The approach increases agricultural yield and allows the farmers to supplement their income by bringing their products to market.
- Water and energy are the focus of Siemens Stiftung
Siemens Stiftung focuses primarily on water and energy – areas in which the foundation has already gained valuable experience in other regions. Specifically, we help the local population with irrigation, optimizing cooking facilities through the use of solar technology, producing safe drinking water, and installing bio-generators. We offer simple technical solutions that make a major difference when used correctly.
- Developing ecological districts
Varying landscape conditions are taken into consideration. The long-term goal is to develop so-called “ecological districts,” which focus on the environmentally sustainable use of resources.
- Personal contributions and joint responsibility
The involvement of the families is particularly important. Passing on acquired knowledge to others is particularly important. Local multipliers known as “Yachachiq” (a Quechua word for “those who know”) play a central role in implementing the technical innovations.
The Sierra Productiva approach has been replicated in other remote communities outside the Andean Highlands of Peru. It shows how the principle of “learning from and with one another” with a view to the specific cultural environment can pave the way for inclusion by boosting social and economic development.