In the major coca-producing regions of Bolivia, economic development is stunted, and the legal economy struggles to thrive. Through a USAID project, Chemonics helped to develop long-term alternatives to coca that allow the population in these regions to increase their licit activities and accelerate economic growth.
The Rural Competitiveness Activity focused on improving the competitiveness of key productive sectors in Bolivia’s coca-growing regions, including Yungas and La Asunta. To increase economic viability, rural producers received training and technical assistance on how to add value to their products, meet market-based demand, and strengthen relationships with producers and exporters.
The strategy devoted efforts and resources to improve living conditions of small-scale producers through sustainable economic and productive growth and development of local capacities. The project also supported the Rural Roads Unit, a Vice-Ministry of Coca and Integrated Development division responsible for improving the roads in regions where the project worked.
The project’s aim was to promote productive development within the framework of the National Integrated Development Plan taken forward by the Vice-Ministry of Coca and Integrated Development with the support of the USAID/Bolivia Integrated Development Program.
The activity supported the following components of the national plan:
- Economic development: strengthening productive capacities and infrastructure
- Social development: generating enhanced and improved living conditions as well as supporting human development
- Natural resources and the environment: establishing development mechanisms that enable integrated management of natural resources in harmony with the environment
- The project makes links between groups of small-scale producers and sectoral organizations and supports them to find secure markets that pay good prices for high-quality products. Thus, the producers themselves can generate sales through their activities and increase the income they earn for themselves and their families.
The project’s success is not measured in terms of inputs (number of training courses provided, packing plants built, budget spent, etc.), but by the tangible and quantifiable impact it achieved: new sales, jobs and investment generated, hectares planted with productive crops, and families directly supported. The results testify to the validity of the strategy of supporting thousands of small-scale producers to obtain high-value, high-quality products with high levels of productivity and a secure demand; in other words, the project supports them to produce what sells.
- 25,300 families receiving direct benefits
- 14,500 jobs created (full-time equivalents)
- 25,000 new and rehabilitated hectares with productive crops
- $105 million in sales generated by producers
Project Duration: 2005 - 2012