Camellones – Bolivians Rehabilitate Ancient Farming

A BBC News Report about a rehabilitation project of an ancient irrigation system for cropping called „Camellones“. The project may help to cut down on the need to clear forests.

Farmers in the heart of Bolivia’s Amazon are being encouraged to embrace the annual floods – by using a centuries-old irrigation system for their crops. They are experimenting with a sustainable way of growing food crops that their ancestors used. It could provide them with better protection against the extremes of climate change, reduce deforestation, improve food security and even promise a better diet.

The system is based on building „camellones“ – raised earth platforms of anything up to 2m high, surrounded by canals.
Constructed above the height of flood waters, the camellones can protect seeds and crops from being washed away.

The water in the canals provide irrigation and nutrients during the dry season.

Read the full article by James Painter at BBC News, Trinidad, Bolivia.

The New Agriculturist also wrote about the project.

Note: The article is about the early stage of the project in 2009. In 2014 it has faced serious problems in the aftermath of a destructive flood, the biggest one since 60 years. But the project continued and in 2019 a successor project was started which is lead by Emily Miller and Natalia Figueredo (USA, Barnard College).