Created in 1991, AOPEB is an association of ecological producer organisations in Bolivia. This association supports organic producers in the development of a form of agriculture that respects the environment and the sustainable use of biodiversity, respecting international standards and the wisdom preserved by Andean-Amazonian cultures. Nowadays, AOPEB represents and works with 85 partners at the national level: associations, cooperatives and CORACAS, bringing together 70,000 organic producers in eight departments of the country and 77 municipalities.
As early as 2010, AOPEB was leading an extensive project to launch a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) on a national scale to significantly increase sales of organic products in the Bolivian domestic market. More precisely, Participatory Guarantee Systems are quality assurance systems that operate at the local level. They certify producers on the basis of active consumer participation and are based on trust, social networks and knowledge sharing. The TDC financed this project which cost €112,325 and lasted three years.
This programme included technical training of the producers and the implementation of the Participatory Guarantee System in their organisations, but also the establishment of sustainable commercial partnerships in each region (with communities, traders and processors) as well as technical support to municipalities committed to supporting local organic production chains (organisation of organic fairs, etc.). This project aimed to improve in a very concrete way the consumption of organic products at all levels of Bolivian society. This showed that organic products are no longer just a fad of European consumers, but also a society’s commitment to sustainable and profitable economic and social development for all.
In terms of results, they were rather positive: there was a 10% increase in product sales under PGS and 1,473 producers were certified PGS. New contacts were also established with buyers. Negotiation plans with municipalities were also initiated to serve products at school breakfasts. Concerning the economic and social impacts, the average household income has increased by 8%, largely thanks to the sales at the organic “ferias”. With the creation of PGS groups and adoption/commitment by the local governments, organic has been embedded into society, at least at the local level.
The TDC also financed a second project for AOPEB which cost €69,937. The specific objective of this project was to improve the productive, economic, cultural and environmental conditions of the families of organic producers who directly marketed their products with the PGS guarantee.