PCI’s innovative MIS Llamas program has been addressing a number of issues in the rural llama producing regions of Bolivia for a better part of the last nine years. The program, which began its first phase in August of 2003, continues to serve some of the most food insecure populations in the country. In regions where the llama is the most resilient and important asset, PCI was presented with an opportunity to address both poverty and nutrition.
MIS Llamas (MIS stands for Sustainable Integrated Management in Spanish) is a model that takes into account all the issues affecting the llama production chain, and that addresses organizational strengthening and training of local human resources. This has had a strategic influence on the local environment, enabling the sustainability of the project activities and contributing to the integrated and sustainable development of these llama-breeding communities.
The active participation of llama producers, municipal authorities, local authorities, and government agents have all helped shape and improve this rural development model, which can be applied to other livestock activities besides llama production, raising its importance as a tool for poverty reduction in the most vulnerable communities.
The results of the program have been outstanding. Average annual income generated from the sale of llamas and by-products by primary producers increased 346% from $219 to $975 (187% increase for llama breeders and 618% increase for processing committee members). Farmers reduced the llama mortality rate by 64%, while increasing the average monthly production of meat 134%. The production of milk also increased 34% during the first weeks of lactation, producing better offspring. The average assets (llamas) of primary producers nearly tripled (196%) within the span of a few years. Not only did quantity increase, but also quality, allowing these assets to be sold for higher prices resulting in a higher net income. The infrastructure now in place will allow the benefits of the program to continue to grow and provide for future generations.