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By Lionel Vigil 

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022: Lifting millions from poverty in the developing world, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, starts with increased agricultural output and profitability.  That’s why it’s especially bad news that climate change is impacting weather patterns and the feasibility of energy sources and other inputs that have historically helped increase agricultural output and productivity.    

The good news is output and productivity gains can be achieved through small and inexpensive innovations that are also environmentally sustainable. 

An example is Rufino Lloclla’s biodigester, which he’s been using for over 5 years.  Mr. Lloclla is a family farmer in Lamlama, Ayacucho Peru. He produces potatoes, yams, carrots and other vegetables.  

Lloclla feeds cow manure, agricultural and household waste into his biodigester.  Out comes methane gas and solid and liquid organic fertilizer.   The methane powers his home while the fertilizer provides organic nutrients for his crops.  

Producing his own energy and inputs in this way has significantly cut his costs and increased his profits.  Lloclla has invested the profits in a community savings and credit program.  He took out a loan to expand the biodigester to increase output of biofertilizer, which he sells to other local farmers.  He used the profits from that venture to pay off the loan and to invest in raising guinea pigs (cuy), a traditional Peruvian food whose manure is also an excellent waste to produce biogas.  The guinea pigs are fed organically produced hay, which enables Lloclla to sell them at a higher price and profit margin.   With the biodigester as the driver, Lloclla has both increased and diversified his income.   

Lloclla learned about the biodigester, organic farming techniques and the credit and savings program through World Neighbors, an international development organization that specializes in low-cost, high-impact environmentally sustainable agricultural innovations.  The timing was right.  Large agrobusinesses have increased the use of chemical fertilizers like urea.  This heightened demand, combined with Russia’s war in Ukraine, has driven up their prices.  This makes organic fertilizer use even more important to family farmers in Ayacucho.   

Just as it has for family farmers in other low-income countries.  The kind of climate adaptation innovations used in Peru are the most cost-effective way to increase agricultural output and catalyze sustainable development.  Those gathered in Egypt for the COP27 conference should consider expanded investment in just this type of proven solution. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lionel Vigil is Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at World Neighbors. 

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