Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Sustainable soil/land management for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Production and Resources

The traditional Minga system for drought management

In 1983, farmers from the Chiquitania region of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, established a community adaptation plan for climate change. The plan included a practice to harvest rainwater to cope with the greater fluctuations in rainfall, and the increased intensity and high variability of rains. Using a diversified production system, the farmers grow maize, cassava, peanuts and organic coffee.

The practice (see Figure B7.6 below) consists of digging a row close to the plants, filling it with manure and then covering it with mulch or crop residues. According to the farmers, this technique has increased their yields and kept production stable even during droughts. It also controls runoff and prevents erosion when high-intensity storms occur. The manure improves the soil structure, thereby improving water storage and increases the soil’s nutrient content. This technique is being disseminated by the Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agropecuaria y Forestal and FAO to other communities to help them cope with water scarcity resulting from climate change.

Figure B7.6.  The traditional Minga system for drought management 

Community training 

Preparing the manure

Digging the row

Filling the row with manure

Manure-filled row

Covering the surface with residues

Source: Hiederer and Köchy, 2011