A promising future: the poultry farm of Santa Maria, Bolivia

Amali and Milda Quispe. The Santa Maria poultry farmers transport water from the river until their well is completed. Photo: CLWR/A.Aguillon

Amali and Milda Quispe. The Santa Maria poultry farmers transport water from the river until their well is completed. Photo: CLWR/A.Aguillon

Amali Quispe goes to school in the local village like any other primary school student. But on weekends Amali works at a poultry farm with her mother, Maria Torrez, where she helps to keep the chicks healthy, warm and with enough food and water to survive the 42 degrees Celsius weather in Santa Maria, a small village near Ascension de Guarayos, about 350 kilometres away from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Two years ago, five families decided to seek a better livelihood by starting a poultry farm. With support from CLWR partner Fundación ARADO, the municipality, and a loan from Fondo Semilla, the local credit agency, the families began with 500 chicks in late 2010. They are now operating with 3,000. Their customers include Ambue Ari National Park and merchants and other businesses in Ascension de Guarayos.

During my visit, Santusa Morales, the treasurer of the group, shared with me how operations have become more successful. Improved communication with clients has led to a higher price for poultry and better supply sources have saved the farm money. The group is making timely payments on their loan. The farm is doing well and next year looks even more promising. However, access to electricity and clean water remains a struggle.

The available source of water is the river, half a kilometre away from the farm. It is not enough to guarantee the farm’s survival because there is no way to ensure water quality, and poor roads cause delays in delivering water to the farm. Time spent on water collection and transportation (two hours a day or more) has negative effects on the performance of the farm. To mitigate this factor, CLWR provided a small grant to the group so they can build and operate a well on the farm.

Electricity is still a challenge. Even though Bolivia has clear goals for providing electricity to rural areas, the farm could wait more than five years to get power. CLWR, Fundación ARADO and the poultry farmers have found an affordable energy source in a solar panel—helping to secure Amali’s hope for a better future.

You can help communities build a better future through CLWR’s Gifts from the Heart program. A symbolic gift of a solar lighting panel, a flock of chickens or a well can make all the difference to people like Amali and the farmers of the Santa Maria poultry farm. Call 1.800.661.2597 or visit our website at www.clwr.org to donate.

Abdon Aguillon

CLWR Program Manager for Latin America and Caribbean

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