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News > Latin America

Bolivian Highland Villages Increase Nutrition through Solar Tents

  • Indigenous farmers in Bolivia

    Indigenous farmers in Bolivia | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 June 2017

“I used to buy vegetables for 100 Bolivian pesos (roughly 12 dollars), but now I save that money,” said Maribel Vallejos.

Quechua women living in the remote highlands of Phuyuwasi, Bolivia have mastered the use of solar tents. In doing so they've learned how to combat intense winters and water shortages, using their harvest to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals.

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“I used to buy vegetables for 100 Bolivian pesos (roughly 12 dollars), but now I save that money,” said Maribel Vallejos, a member of the project developed by the Ministry of Rural and Land Development and supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, and other UN agencies.

The Wire reported that the project, headed by Abdon Vasquez and involving family greenhouse gardens, has changed the lives of the women in the community.

After receiving two years of technical training, “there is no more (child) malnutrition. We used to not eat well, now we eat clean and we know what we are eating,” said Vallejos, the only member of the group who speaks her native language, Quechua, and Spanish. She added that “We are stronger eating these vegetables.”

Jhaneth Rojas, a young farmer from in the same region, said that her family’s dietary habits have drastically changed since the arrival of the solar tents.

She emphasized that new vegetables are being grown in this harsh, cold region of the Andes such as radishes, beets, cucumbers, squash, green beans, broccoli and spinach.

“My father is interested in expanding the solar tent so that his children grow strong” with the harvest and intake of these and other vegetables Rojas said.

When the project began the local diet consisted primarily of rice, eggs and, occasionally, chicken. Now, according to The Wire, the family's involved in the project have increased their intake by roughly 800 calories in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

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