Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Bolivia

Geographical situation of BoliviaAn estimated 2% of Bolivia’s land area is devoted to arable farming and permanent crops. Dry agriculture is the rule, and the most important crops are potatoes, corn, barley, quinoa, habas, wheat, alfalfa and oca.

Twelve institutions are working in crop breeding in Bolivia -- 8 are public, 3 private and one mixed. All consider a priority to carry out plant breeding for abiotic factors, to achieve varieties resistant to frost Andean crops only), drought, salinity, etc.; to generate varieties resistant to priority diseases like potato late blight or wheat rust. Several institutions focus on the production of varieties adapted to on-favourable environments.

The main crops covered by plant breeding programmes are soybean, peanut, maize, wheat and sesame. In general, the institutions have given more importance to the use of local germplasm.

Plant breeding in Bolivia encounters two main issues. Firstly, the investments for carrying out plant breeding are limited. All the institutions have greenhouses but infra-structure in general needs to be improved. Secondly, the diffusion of improved varieties is a bottleneck that all institutions encountered due to the non-existence of a national agricultural extension system. Another important factor is the limited availability of quality seed of all the crops due mainly to the lack of enterprises dedicated to this purpose.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Forest Seeds Centre - Centro de semillas forestales (BASFOR)
Website available in English and Spanish

BASFOR is a forest seeds centre that offers its services with the provisioning of quality-controlled forest seed. Its general objective is to provide a sustainable supply system of forest genetic material, in enough quantity to fulfil the national demand, to improve the forest sector and the environment.


Tropical Agricultural Research Center (CIAT) - Centro de Investigación Agrícola Tropical
Website available in Spanish

The CIAT is a decentralized technical institution performing research and technology transfer for the agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors of the eastern part of Bolivia. It also offers products and services to widely deliver the technologies developed within the institution.

National Center of Vegetable Seed Productions - Centro nacional de produccion de semillas de verduras (CNSPH)
No Website available

Vegetable seeds from twenty varieties are offered to the agricultural sector in order to improve the vegetable productivity and to replace the imported seed not adapted for Bolivia. Plant breeding work was executed for each one of these varieties, to try to adapt them to national preferences and to the Bolivian agricultural conditions.

Private Institutions


Seed and Agriculture Experimental Station - SEMillera y estación EXperimental Agrícola S.R.L. (SEMEXA S.R.L.)
Website available in Spanish

SEMEXA aims to produce seeds with high genetic purity to support the agricultural development and to minimize the external dependence of Bolivia in the acquisition of seeds.


Information by Julio Gabriel (2006) - Information based on the Bolivia's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 31-07-2009, GIPB