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Case study 5 - The Chapare region study, Bolivia

I. Introduction
II. Designing the study
III. Executing the study
IV. Implementing the recommendations
V. Lessons learned
VI. Bibliography


Creating an Economic Base to Support Colonization - Integrated Development Study of the Chapare Region (Bolivia)

The Chapare study (1978-79) was initiated to integrate and rationalize resource development in a 24,500 km2 area open to colonization. The Bolivian Government (which had launched coca-eradication programs in the area with U.S. AID backing) wanted settlers to have adequate social and transportation services and economically viable alternatives for agricultural production. Because the independent colonists were achieving higher crop yields than the government-sponsored colonists, the government also wanted to capitalize on these successes by directing assistance to the colonists who could make the best use of new technology, credit, and services.

Working with the Ministry of Rural, Agricultural, and Livestock Affairs, the National Institute of Colonization, and the Cochabamba Development Corporation, DRD developed a five-year action plan based on investment projects totalling US$20 million. These included the construction of 224 kilometers of feeder roads and the improvement of 219 kilometers of substandard roads, the extension of agricultural research services to 7,700 families, agro-industry development, programs of agricultural credit and marketing, a reforestation effort, a potable water program for roughly 2,000 families, and a vaccination program for children and pregnant women. DRD also helped develop guidelines for the settlement of new lands. These guidelines - which were based on an evaluation of the area's natural resources - were used to determine the amount of land to be occupied, the physical infrastructure needed to sustain agriculture in the area, and the distribution of the new parcels.


Project area:

24,500 km2



Physical characteristics:

- Holdridge life zones:

Predominant Humid Tropical Forests with variations to Very Humid in piedmont areas and Subhumid in northern plains

Subtropical Rain Forest in low mountain area

Dry Tropical and Dry Subtropical Forests

- Elevation range: 300 m to 5,000 m

- Land capability classification:

Classes I-IV:


Classes V-VIII:


Duration of Project:

First Preliminary Mission: 1975

Second Preliminary Mission: 2/1978

Fieldwork: 4/1978-5/1980

Publication of Final Report: 1980

Technical contributions:

DRD disciplines (19)

Number of DRD/Experts (24)

Agricultural Engineer (Project Chief)


Regional Planner




Agro-industry Specialist




Animal Health Specialist




Cattle Production Specialist


Forest Development Specialist


Institutional Development Specialist


Labor and Employment Specialist


Potable Water Specialist


Project Economist


Project Formulation Specialist


Regional Economist


Road Engineer


Rural Electrification Specialist


Soils Specialist


Water Resource Specialist


Total professional person-months: DRD: 74.4 Government of Bolivia: 45.5

Financial contributions: DRD: US$296,000

Government of Bolivia: US$147,000

Total investment in projects proposed: US$20,000,000


I. Introduction

The development of humid, subtropical forests presents a major challenge since they contain natural resources and space for accommodating population growth and migration. But in most cases, their exploitation has represented the worst of development efforts - spill-over from adjacent developed and densely populated regions and the application of inappropriate models from temperate regions. In the absence of comprehensive rural development planning, ecosystems have deteriorated and destabilized agricultural production. In such frontier areas, the critical task now is not only to develop unoccupied land, but also to restructure the existing economy and social services.

The Chapare area in north-central Bolivia exemplifies this need. Endowed with subtropical forests and abundant water, this sparsely populated region was designated by the Bolivian Government in the 1960s as a priority colonization area. The Chapare's size, underutilized agricultural capacity, limited social services and infrastructure, growing economic dependence on the production of coca leaves, and proximity to potential markets in the densely populated highlands all contributed to the government's decision. Since then the area has received a flow of government-sponsored as well as spontaneous settlers.

From 1978 to 1980, the Department of Regional Development (DRD) of the Organization of American States helped the Bolivian Government formulate a development strategy and identify investment projects for immediate implementation in the Chapare. In the project's first phase, the area's natural resources, infrastructure, and socio-economic and institutional organization were diagnosed. In the second phase, seven integrated investment programs were developed and approved.

Although the Investment proposals are still awaiting action, the Chapare study demonstrates the effectiveness of three methodologies:

· Taking a sectorally integrated approach to rural development so as to support both spontaneous and government-sponsored colonization;

· Determining early in the planning process the geographical, technical, and policy emphases necessary to identify investment projects directly related to local inhabitants' needs; and

· Designing and executing a planning study to take account of nationally and internationally sponsored development activities already under way.

The Chapare settlement area in the department of Cochabamba lies between the fast-developing regions of Santa Cruz and Beni. Geographically, the triangular area of 24,500 km2 is bounded by a spur of the eastern Andes on the south, the Secure River on the west, and the Ichilo and Mamoré Rivers on the east. Four major rivers flowing northeastward out of the Andes drain the area.

The Chapare can be divided into three major portions. In the upper portion composed of piedmont and low hills (13 percent of the area), dense subtropical forests on steep slopes rise above numerous small valleys and streams. The middle portion, a stabilized alluvial plain of approximately the same size as the upper portion, contains high terraces with good drainage and is a continuation of the piedmont. The major rivers broaden here, and the soils are the best in the Chapare. On the lower floodplain, which covers almost three-fourths of the area, sediment from erosion in the upper portion is deposited continually. The soils are fertile, but annual floods undercut agricultural potential, the lower terraces being continually inundated. The whole area is humid and subtropical, though the climate varies with the elevation. Annual rainfall ranges from 2,800 to 5,500 mm. (These major units are indicated in the map of Agricultural Zones and Subzones - Map 3.)

About 156,000 ha or 6 percent of the region was occupied in 1976. Of that, some 35,000 ha was cultivated: 34 percent, rice; 28 percent, coca; 23 percent, plantain; 11 percent, citrus; and 4 percent, other crops. Although primitive agricultural production technology was used, Chapare grew 39 percent of Bolivia's plantain, 32 percent of its citrus, and 20 percent of its rice. Most of this produce was transported without being classified or processed to consumption centers by a truckers' cooperative that also financed crop production and controlled market prices.

Forests cover 75 percent of the Chapare, varying from 96 percent of the total land area in the mountainous zones to 61 percent in the relatively densely populated alluvial plains. The logging operations that provided the initial impetus for opening the Chapare to settlement have gradually cleared the way for agriculture. But the large companies that obtain government concessions have typically ignored replanting requirements, burned off uncommercial wood, and abandoned parcels after using only about 1 percent of the felled trees. In the mid-1970s, Chapare's annual wood production was low, though it accounted for 9 percent of Bolivia's domestic timber resources.

The 26 sawmills in Chapare can process 30,000 m3 of wood annually. But in 1977, they operated at only 60 percent of capacity, processing half of the wood harvested and sending the rest as logs to Cochabamba's mills.

Livestock production has just begun in Chapare. Crosses of native breeds are favored, though in very humid areas buffalo are raised.

Agro-production opportunities are limited by the transportation system. Although paved trunk roads connect Cochabamba to Villa Tunari and Puerto Villarroel, the secondary-road network is poorly developed, and 20 percent of the secondary roads are impassable part of each year.

The small settlements connected by these roads are not functionally interconnected, and all lack basic services. The most serious immediate problem is poor health conditions. Mortality, morbidity, and birth rates are higher than the already high national rates. Both infant and adult deaths have been linked to a lack of potable water and to poor sanitation. The shortage of medical personnel is exacerbated by a lack of sewer systems, electrical power, telecommunication facilities, and year-round roads.

Although agricultural patterns and the influence of the truckowners' cooperative are the same in both spontaneously settled and government-sponsored colonies, crop yields and income levels are strikingly different. Because the government program drew the poorest of the landless and many farmers without experience with the local crops, farming in these settlements has been grossly undercapitalized and empirical. In sharp contrast, many household heads among the 62 percent of the agricultural families who entered the Chapare on their own had secure jobs in logging when they came and could thus accumulate savings or leave farming to other family members. Still others, mostly small farmers and entrepreneurs living near Cochabamba, have long used family capital to grow citrus and bananas for an assured market. With more experience and the funds needed to innovate, the spontaneously settled colonies thus produce higher crop yields and enjoy a higher standard of living than the government-sponsored colonies.

The total colonial population in the Chapare is only 40,000. Most are Quechua-speaking Indians who have not fully adapted to the climate. The rest, 600 to 800 nomadic Aymaras and aboriginal families, are being forced into unsettled forest areas.

The intervention of 54 international, national, regional, and private development agencies in the Chapare made addressing the needs of this dispersed and isolated population administratively complicated. Their activities all competed for time, national resources, and supervisory talent, and most were baseline studies - expressions of good intentions rather than concrete proposals or actions grounded in experience. Some also disoriented the colonists and raised false hopes.

Given these administrative problems and the comparative success of the spontaneous entrepreneurial colonists, the goals of this planning study were to build upon these successes while equalizing economic opportunity among the two groups and improving the quality of life for both.

II. Designing the study

A. The Preliminary Mission

In 1975, DRD had carried out a preliminary mission at the request of the Bolivian Government. The report of this reconnaissance mission included: (1) a review of available natural resource and socio-economic data, (2) a geographic definition of the area; (3) a tentative evaluation of its development potential; (4) a quantified assessment of the technical cooperation needed to plan and implement development actions, and (5) a workplan for the study. Between 1975 and 1977, the Bolivian Government reviewed this report, which included a recommendation to carry out an integrated development study of the area. In 1978, it asked DRD to conduct the proposed study.

Upper portion of the Chapare Region. Subtropical forests in steep and narrow valleys.

By 1978, changes in the Chapare had made alterations in the proposed study necessary. Various international development assistance agencies and national counterpart organizations were together carrying out sectoral studies as part of an effort to revitalize the government-sponsored colonization projects. Not even 20 percent of these programmed activities had been executed, but substantial funds had been committed. At the same time, the bilateral technical assistance programs aimed at eradicating coca production were altering the local agricultural economy and social structure.

In early 1978, a second preliminary DRD mission composed of an economist, a natural resource specialist, and an agricultural engineer (the designated project chief) went to Bolivia. With local and national governmental authorities they made three important decisions. First, the Chapare study team should orient integrated development proposals to both the immediate and the intermediate terms. Second, project proposals should be based on the rational use and protection of the area's natural and human resources. Third, projects for the spontaneously settled colonies should receive top priority.

As the national counterpart for the study, the Bolivian Government named the National Colonization Institute (INC), which under the auspices of the Ministry of Small Farmer Affairs and Agriculture (MACA) supports colony-based producer organizations and coordinates land-tenure, housing, potable water, sanitation, commercialization, and credit projects. INC would coordinate the study team's recommendations with the activities of MACA, other sectoral agencies, and the Cochabamba Departmental Development Corporation (CORDECO).

In collaboration with INC, the second preliminary mission set three tasks for the study:

1. Inventory all existing and proposed development projects for the area. (For each project, determine the geographical location, the period of execution, and compatibility with the national goals of redistributing population and fortifying regional markets.)

2. Complete the natural resource, economic, and social analyses and the development strategy for the area.

3. For the spontaneously settled colonies, identify development projects to be implemented immediately to garner the colonists' acceptance and cooperation.

To carry out these activities, the involvement of national and international agencies working in the Chapare was essential. With more than 50 private national and international agencies conducting studies and proposing activities for the area, the colonies were becoming confused and disenchanted. Only if they were consulted and involved during project planning could they be expected to support the new investment projects during implementation,

Since no national Bolivian institute had the experience or power needed to direct a multisectoral study by itself, DRD and the Bolivian Government set up a Coordination Commission (COCOM) comprised of representatives of INC, MACA, CORDECO, and DRD to give technical and administrative direction. The government also named co-directors from INC and DRD to direct the technical unit. (The organizational structure of the study is shown in Figure 1.)

Middle portion of the Chapare Region. A process of heavy streambank erosion and deposition is evident as well as arable land on alluvial terraces.

Spontaneous colonization along a newly paved road in the Chapare Region.

B. The Workplan

The workplan formulated in April of 1978 specified five activities for Phase I (May through December):

1. Review the study's objectives and align them with the national and regional objectives.

2. Develop a five-year development strategy for the area.

3. Collect basic data on natural resources, socio-economic characteristics, and infrastructural elements to help the team identify priority geographic and technical subject areas, and set time frames for subsequent activities.

4. Identify sectoral development projects.

5. Prepare a first-phase report summarizing these four activities.

During Phase II, (14 months), the technical unit would:

1. Select sectoral programs and projects for formulation and evaluation.
2. Develop projects and programs to the pre-feasibility level. (See Glossary.)
3. Prepare an action plan for the short- to mid-term.
4. Issue a final report.

Between 1975 and 1978, the study design was modified to better reflect institutional planning constraints and the colonists' economic needs. The open-ended diagnosis originally planned was dropped in favor of a closely focussed study of one portion of the region, and the technical unit began taking the initiative in working with international organizations, national sectoral agencies, and local inhabitants. Indeed, although DRD was the last international agency to get involved in the Chapare, it was the first to help the Bolivian Government coordinate the wide-ranging development activities under way. Another change was placing greater emphasis on meeting the spontaneous colonists' needs for greater access to credit and markets, better communication and health services, electrification and road networks, agricultural productivity increases, and technology transfer. (Figure 2 is a synthesis of the methodology used for the study and shows the time sequence of activities. Figure 3 shows the distribution of person-months in Phases I and II.)

III. Executing the study

A. Phase I - Data Collection and Analysis

In May of 1978, the technical unit's headquarters was established in Cochabamba. The natural resource evaluation began with the preparation of thematic maps based on existing information on the local river system, the road system, and the colonies. As expected, most available data covered the two upper portions of the area, where previous studies of the government-directed colonies had been conducted and where socio-economic data had been collected in conjunction with the coca-eradication projects. Additional information was needed on vegetation, soil classification, agro-climatic units, and infrastructure.

The technical unit decided to collect only the information needed to identify and formulate new projects and evaluate existing ones. To keep the data collection effort manageable and affordable, it would confine its study primarily to populated areas and use small-scale maps (1:250,000). It would also pare down the resource evaluation, mapping only vegetation, soil classes, agro-climatic units, and basic infrastructure.

For the natural resource inventory, the study team used satellite images since cloud cover ruled out the use of conventional aerial photography. The team used these images to prepare maps of soils, and natural vegetation. (See Map 2.) This data was then correlated with a life zone map of Bolivia that DRD helped prepare in 1975 to produce a map of agricultural zones and subzones. (See Map 3.) To obtain information of property boundaries and population in the Chapare, the technical unit worked with INC. This information was vital because access to new credit programs - the basis of agricultural development - would depend on getting clear title to the land.




Transportation data obtained from the national agencies and CORDECO revealed that although the paved road provided excellent access to Cochabamba and north-central Bolivia, Chapare was nonetheless isolated from the northernmost and southernmost regions of the country. These potential markets could be reached only by river, as 80 percent of Chapare's local roads were impassable in rainy weather. Better roads, the study team concluded, would create new markets for the additional produce but also open more forest land to destructive timber extraction and to further spontaneous colonization by slash-and-burn farmers.

Since coca production would also increase if new lands were opened, the study team worked with MACA and the international technical assistance agencies to map coca-production areas, determining how many years coca had been produced in each sub-area and how important coca was relative to other crops. (While the Bolivian Government had set limits on the production and commercialization of the leaves for consumption in Bolivia, most of the crop was grown illegally for the international drug trade.) Ultimately, the technical unit concluded that a strategy focussed solely on coca-eradication would fail since at least one third of the colonists' income was generated from coca production. Responding rationally to market forces, the colonists would not stop growing coca until other lucrative and easy-to-grow crops were identified.



Although contacts with the Bolivian national agencies had been established while the study was being designed, the need for formalizing communications between the agencies and the technical unit became apparent once the study was under way. To meet this need, a two-level Inter-Institutional Coordination Committee (INTERCOCOM) was created: the upper level consisted of representatives of the national agencies in Cochabamba, and the lower level of representatives of the same agencies in the Chapare. (See Figure 1.)

INTERCOCOM initiated a dialog among the national and regional agencies, farmers' organizations, the truckers' cooperative, and the local colonists' cooperatives. However, INTERCOCOM functioned only at the prodding of the technical unit, and Chapare-based delegates had to consult with their superiors in Cochabamba or the national capital to make any decision. Local discussions simply did not compensate for the lack of a sectorally integrated planning process at the regional and national level.

When the technical information was mapped, it became clear that special permission from high-ranking authorities in La Paz would be needed to obtain any information on existing and proposed development activities. Thus, once or twice a month the team had to travel to the capital. Since team members were already making three or four trips per month to Chapare to talk with area INTERCOCOM representatives and colonists' organizations, their time at headquarters in Cochabamba was severely limited. But even though the great distance between the field-study site and information sources - typical of Latin American regional development studies - did add to the administrative burden, Cochabamba was probably the most appropriate location for the study's headquarters. Technical counterpart personnel and support facilities were there, and the field area was only a 90-minute drive away.

Another limitation was INC's inability to execute development projects. INC lacked budget and implementation authority for sectoral public works projects and did not directly provide agricultural, health, or education extension services. The sectoral agencies and CORDECO would have to collaborate to get investment projects implemented.

To compensate for institutional deficiencies, several changes were proposed. First, to engender the colonists' support while the development strategy was being formulated, the technical unit laid plans for using local teachers and representatives of agricultural cooperatives as change agents and for holding dialogs with the colonists in schools and other communal buildings. Second, COCOM was put in charge of managing technical assistance, providing institutional support, and seeking financing. Third, it was decided to expand the technical unit during project implementation to include representatives of all national agencies active in the Chapare and to make the unit a permanent body directed by CORDECO and supported by INTERCOCOM. Finally, the creation of a development organization focussed specifically on the Chapare was proposed. Key to this revised plan was CORDECO's control of project implementation and internal financing.

To bolster inter-sectoral coordination, the technical unit also presented a two-month course on water resource management in mid-1979. While water use per se was not the study team's primary concern, instructors from the Inter-American Center for Integrated Development of Land and Water Resources (CIDIAT) in Venezuela linked surface-water management to agricultural production, soil conservation, timber management, potable water for settlements, and farm-to-market road systems - which were key issues. Moreover, to capture national agencies' interest, the instructors used Chapare as a case study from which more general principles could be inferred,

B. Phase I - Preparing the Interim Report

In August of 1979, the study team issued a report summarizing the diagnosis of the area, the principal guidelines for a five-year development strategy, and the sectoral program proposals. Five principal guidelines were spelled out in the interim report: (1) integrate the area socially, economically, politically, and geographically into the national context; (2) set self-sustaining economic and population growth in motion; (3) equalize the distribution of income from the area's economic activities; (4) increase public services; and (5) reduce coca production while protecting the traditional national consumption patterns.

The seven development programs proposed for the Chapare in the report - technology transfer, agricultural credit, agro-industry, zonal market development, electrification, secondary-road construction, and potable water - were carefully integrated. They were developed concurrently and were coordinated for each target population and agricultural zone. The technology transfer and agricultural credit programs were tied directly to agro-industry and zonal market programs. The electrification and potable water programs, along with the zonal market program, had two aims: improving health conditions and establishing a settlement hierarchy in which each center and sub-center would offer specified public services. The secondary-road program would provide access to proposed agro-industries, settlement services, and new regional markets along the La Paz-Cochabamba-Santa Cruz corridor, a major national artery.

Key here is the agricultural credit program, which was aimed at financing the area's traditional crops. For such crops as citrus, rice, cassava, and bananas, Chapare's productivity was the highest in Bolivia. Since the 1950s, Santa Cruz and the highland regions had depended on the Chapare for fruit, and continued demand was assured, By concentrating on these traditional crops, the technical unit boosted the probability that the credit program would yield results within the five-year time frame adopted.

For each program and for each settlement, the technical unit designated the national sectoral agencies that would help formulate the program. The electrification program, for instance, complemented and conformed to the specifications of the National Electric Corporation, while the secondary-road program was to be carried out under the auspices of the National Road Service. The technical unit also determined the surface area and number of families affected by each proposed program.

In August of 1979, COCOM approved readily these recommendations - in part because the study team's brief report (22 pages) was constructed to highlight the proposal policies and the projects that each agency was to carry out. COCOM then instructed the technical unit to proceed with second phase activities.

C. Phase II - Developing the Action Plan

Once the first phase report was approved, the technical unit began elaborating a proposal for a five-year action plan based on the seven programs (46 projects in all). On INTERCOCOM's recommendation, it also prepared general guidelines for occupying uninhabited but potentially productive lands in the Chapare, In addition, the unit began work on the study's final report.

To prepare the action plan, a DRD specialist in formulating development projects in accord with international funding agency requirements joined the study team. This individual worked closely with experts in agricultural and agro-industrial development and forestry, physical planners and engineers, specialists in water resource and transport projects, ecologists, economists, and social scientists.

Since many of these experts had helped formulate the development strategy, renewing contact with their national counterparts in local agencies was relatively simple. The technical unit kept up this dialog while the action plan was being prepared and visited the Chapare weekly to meet with local colonists' groups and the truckers' cooperative.

During these meetings in Chapare, the technical unit wrestled with conflicts of interest between the colonists (who wished to lessen their dependence on the truck-owners) and the truckowners (whose livelihood would be affected by development activities in the area). Gradually, the truckowners became convinced that increased economic activity in Chapare would boost overall demand for transportation enough to outweigh the cooperative's loss of control over agricultural financing. The colonists, on the other hand, supported the government-administered credit programs built into the proposed agricultural projects since credit afforded them some independence from the truckowners. Overall, the proposed projects met with the colonists' approval and the truckowners' qualified support.

Meeting of truck owners, colonists and the study team in the transportation cooperative headquarters in Villa Tunari.


Few conflicts between natural resource management and economic development emerged from the technical unit's analysis of the proposed activities. In informal meetings, the colonists, local agency technicians, and the technical unit all agreed that current soil conservation, logging, and cropping practices contributed to dependence on the truckers' cooperative and subsistence single-crop production. The colonists understood the roots of soil erosion, deforestation, and surface water pollution, as well as the need for crop rotation and better farming practices. There was also agreement that the area could enjoy sustained growth if agricultural credit programs, additional jobs in agro-industry, and stable markets were created in conjunction with improved health and educational services.

While the colonists were considering the technical unit's proposals, however, the coca-eradication projects already under way were jeopardizing their livelihood. Taking a broader and more positive approach than MACA and the international development agencies that sponsored these projects, the study team met several times with the colonists to find out which alternatives offered the most economic security and subsequently decided to focus on agricultural credit and a few other programs.

To explain its integrated approach to the Chapare area's development, the technical unit used maps in draft form. These showed the main coca-growing areas; the action plan with programs and projects for the spontaneously settled, government-directed, and uninhabited areas; and the hierarchy of settlements proposed to support the plan. This information helped the colonists and Bolivian agency personnel visualize the technical unit's proposals in precise geographic terms and to fit these actions into the Chapare area's larger concerns.

Drawing on these discussions and its earlier activities, the technical unit divided the Chapare region into three major areas, according to their role in the short- to medium-term development. (See Map 4.) Most proposals were for the spontaneously colonized area already settled, the "project concentration area." In the area containing the government-directed colonization projects - the "consolidation area" - sectoral projects identified by national agencies and selected on the basis of their compatibility with the overall strategy would be implemented. In a third zone designated the "expansion area," public sector activities based on the area's economic development strategy and the technical unit's resource-related recommendations would be carried out. For the remainder of the Chapare area, no development activities were specified because the investment resources needed to develop a major road were not available, but guidelines for project preparation were drawn up.

Within each zone, a hierarchy of settlements was defined. The regional subcenter, Villa Tunari, was linked through communication and institutional networks to Cochabamba, the regional center. The concentration zone and the consolidation zone were divided into subzones, each with a designated center. The remaining established settlements were designated as local centers.

This hierarchy reflected such factors as population distribution, the location of commercial centers and the local offices of national sectoral agencies, and the construction of the proposed Cochabamba-Villa Tunari-Santa Cruz highway, which would span the consolidation zone. The role the small river-port settlements would play as points of exit for additional agricultural products was also considered.

On the basis of this hierarchy and the characteristics of each zone, packages of investment projects and programs for the colonies were prepared. (See Map 5.) These included projects in agricultural credit and industries, zonal markets and technology transfer, and road building, health, and electrification. Only projects that would have a positive internal rate of return without subsidies were included in the packages.

Road, health, electrification, zonal markets, and agro-industry projects were selected on the basis of varying community needs and scaled to each colony's size. Not every settlement was to get every type of facility or service, but the same design criteria would be used for all the installations of each type built.

The type and number of agro-industries proposed did not reflect the area's theoretical potential, since dependence on farm-to-market roads and the primary road to Santa Cruz limited agro-industrial development. Moreover, since the road program would cost more to implement than the other programs, its implementation would not keep pace with expanded agricultural production. Accordingly, the study team concentrated initially on industries that selected and packaged local agricultural products. Food-processing industries were to be added only when the road system could handle the extra traffic they would generate. As specified in the initial project agreement, only activities that could be fully implemented within five to seven years were planned in detail.

The technology transfer and agricultural credit programs, which were more or less the same in all the colonies, were tied to existing institutions and the new settlement hierarchy. Farmers would have access to credit for the production of traditional crops (except coca) on small parcels and for cattle-fattening activities at one slaughterhouse in Villa-Tunari, With the agricultural inputs purchased on credit, they would be able to keep at least 50 percent more land (an additional of 6 to 7 hectares per family parcel) in continual production, and local agro-industries and increased access to the regional market would stabilize demand for this increased production. Credit-eligible projects were determined on the basis of the data used to prepare the map of agricultural zones and subzones (map 3), which included rainfall, soil depth, flooding potential, and slope restrictions.


Agricultural colonists selling products a Villa Tunari, at zonal market center in the Chapare Region. Similar marketing centers were recommended along the proposed Cochabamba-Villa Tunari-Santa Cruz highway.

The forestry components of the proposed programs were limited to conservation measures, pending further study of the forest resources. In its final report, the technical unit recommended limiting timber concessions, introducing selective cutting practices, and abandoning the practice of burning the unsalable parts of trees. Reforestation was integrated into the agricultural production models proposed and the technical unit recommended that the Forest Development Center ban further colonization in the Isiboro Secure Reserve and National Park where the aboriginal population lived. (Even though the Bolivian Government had officially designated the area as a reserve, migration and conflicts of interest are likely to intensify since the reserve will be crossed by the Chapare-Beni road now under construction.)

The guidelines for occupying new lands were based on experience in inhabited areas. The emphases were on (1) evaluating the natural resources of the area to be occupied, (2) making sure that colonists have clear title to the land, and (3) identifying the infrastructure necessary to sustain sedentary agriculture on the occupied lands. These guidelines were used to determine the amount of land to be occupied, the design of the physical infrastructure, and the distribution of the parcels.

D. Phase II - Preparing the Final Report

The technical unit's final report was presented to COCOM in April of 1980. Building on the approved material in the interim report, it described the national concerns bearing on the Chapare's development, the foundation for a development strategy for the Chapare, and integrated development programs and projects for the area. (See Table 1.) It also featured revised versions of settlement, coca-production, and thematic maps.

Reviewing the final report, COCOM readily endorsed three features in the Chapare project:

1. The proposed projects responded directly to the objectives the technical unit originally set forth and to the general development strategy designed for the area.

2. The study team's assessment of the area's natural resources, institutional network, access to production technology, population density, land-tenure situation, market conditions, and demographic factors was concise and pragmatic.

3. The projects were institutionally and spatially integrated. They reflected a thorough understanding of the area's needs, constraints, and potential.

COCOM approved the final report within weeks. By this point, counterpart agencies had demonstrated support for the study's recommendations and CORDECO had integrated them into its action plan for Chapare. The colonists in the region had also publicly expressed support for the plan.

IV. Implementing the recommendations

Three months after the report was presented, Bolivia's national government changed, and technical and administrative personnel turned over at the regional and local levels, With the departure of the counterpart personnel who helped formulate the development strategy and action plan and INC's loss of control over coordination activities, the study's recommendations were ignored. When CORDECO withdrew its support, the implementation program was abandoned.

With no support for an integrated regional development program, and coca production flourishing despite government efforts to curtail it, - the area planted to coca increased eight-fold between 1978 and 1982, and production of traditional food crops fell to below subsistence levels. Under these circumstances, the coca-eradication project came to the fore while the other sectoral projects were re-evaluated. The development of health, education, and potable water programs came to a standstill. Land-ownership problems in the Chapare were ignored, and no agricultural and agro-industry projects were implemented.

With another change of government in 1982, CORDECO again reviewed the recommendations of the Chapare report. They were also reviewed by Cochabamba Agricultural Planning and Coordination Committee - a new planning coordination agency formed in response to the study team's recommendation to expand the technical unit and make it a permanent part of CORDECO.

Since the latest review, the study team's recommendations have formed the basis for action by agencies of the Department of Cochabamba in the Chapare and for soliciting technical assistance from international agencies. In mid-1983, the Government of Bolivia asked DRD to review recent studies of the Chapare - including DRD's own study - and to identify proposals for immediate external funding.

V. Lessons learned

The DESIGN STAGE of the Chapare study showed the importance of:

1. Involving the project's intended beneficiaries throughout the study. Because local people helped identify local needs and review proposed actions, the technical unit's recommendations fit into the Chapare farmers' way of life and addressed local needs for better social and health services, income-generating substitutes for coca-production, and new agricultural credit programs - none of which were addressed by the coca-eradication programs.

2. Restricting information collection to save time and keep project momentum. The technical unit collected only that data needed to design geographical and technical policies for the development strategy and to formulate projects. As a result, the project stayed on schedule and project resources lasted until the study was completed.





Summary of the report's recommendations and list of the study's participants


- Background:

(a) Objectives and socio-economic development policy of Bolivia

(b) The Chapare area in the regional development policy framework

(c) The national program of technical cooperation

- Execution of the technical cooperation agreement:

(a) Operations

(b) Results

(c) Contents

- Contents of the report

The National Context

- The national ambience and the Bolivian population
- Economic activities
- Geography and natural resources
- Production sectors
- Regional development and its interrelation to national development

Bases for the Formulation of a Proposal for Chapare's Development

- Objectives

- The diagnostic:

(a) Chapare as a resource - the context

(b) Physical aspects

(c) Economic aspects

(d) Social aspects

(e) Population aspects

(f) Institutional aspects

An Integrated Program for the Development of Chapare

- Background and criteria

- The strategy for development:

(a) The relation between the objectives and the diagnostic

(b) The proposed strategy

- Programs and Projects - a detailed discussion of specific sectoral actions and project components:

(a) Agro-industrial program

(b) Population centers electrification program

(c) Secondary-roads program

(d) Zonal market program

(e) Preventive health care program

(f) Agricultural credit program

(g) Agricultural technology transfer program

(h) General guidelines for the occupation of new lands

- Conclusions and Recommendations for the short and mid-term:

(a) The investment program by sectors

(b) Global evaluation

(c) Proposal for the institutional structure for the area

(d) Principal recommendations for the short and mid-term


Sector specific preliminary reports:
- Soils: exploratory survey
- Forest resources: exploratory survey
- Formulation and application of criteria for selection of investment projects and programs
- Socio-economic aspects
- Diagnosis of the institutional structure
- Preventive health care program
- Secondary-roads program
- Population centers electrification program
- Cattle production program
- Agro-industry program
- Zonal market program
- Agricultural credit program

Key Mapped Information






Soils: exploratory survey

Agricultural Zones and Subzones

Location of proposed projects and programs*

Soils: index of available information

Spatial strategy for the short- to mid-term*

Forest cover: exploratory survey

exploratory survey*

Present land use:

Areas in coca cultivation*

Road system

1. Gobierno de Bolivia (MACA-INC-CORDECO) y Secretaría General de la OEA/DDR, Proyecto Chapare: Estudio para el Desarrollo Integrado, Provincias de Chapare, Carrasco, Moxos, y Arani, Informe Final; Gobierno de Bolivia: Cochabamba, 1980.

* Covers the presently colonized (southern) portion of the study area.

The EXECUTION STAGE illustrated the advantage of:

1. Working with existing institutions in the Chapare, Cochabamba, and La Paz. This solved several problems and reinforced links among the national agencies. First, because the study team was aware of national agency proposals and the agencies were kept informed about the guidelines being devised for integrated development in the Chapare, some of INTERCOCOM's limitations could be surmounted. Second, through close contact with the local agencies, the technical team became familiar with the pre-feasibility project-preparation requirements these agencies had to follow to comply with international lenders, which made defining team members' tasks in the project-formulation stage easier. From the beginning, projects were formulated in terms lenders would accept.

2. Delivering a high-quality first-phase report which engendered considerable institutional support for the Chapare project. The document was so brief that it did not overwhelm COCOM or the other national agency reviewers. Describing the proposed programs first and summarizing the study's objectives in a two-page addendum, the report got straight to the point. With the responsibilities each agency would have for each project spelled out, as well as the precise areas and population groups each would affect, agency decision-makers could accurately assess the practicality of each proposal.

3. Focussing project proposals on the use of technologies and practices already in use in the project area. This greatly increased the likelihood that the action plan would yield palpable results within two to five years. Since traditional crops were productive and in high demand, the team saved the time and expense of field-testing new crops and conducting training sessions for the farmers.

4. Accepting the inevitability of coca production and incorporating coca-growing into an integrated development approach - a more effective approach than the more narrowly focussed rural development perspective of the other sectoral agencies working in the area simply because the colonists accepted it. In the Chapare study, colonization was considered as a unit of integrated rural development and the network of colonies was considered in the regional and national contexts.

The IMPLEMENTATION STAGE was improved by:

1. Building implementation considerations in from the beginning, as indicated by the lessons above.

2. Using teachers and other local respected personnel as "change agents" to mobilize support for proposed actions.

3. Identifying the conflict between principal actors and helping them arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution that could then be built into the study recommendations. Together, the farmers and the trucking cooperative reached an agreement whereby the truckers reduced unit charges but increased their profit because the increased net returns to the farmers were an incentive to produce and sell more crops.

4. Presenting the regional study as a model. Although the proposed projects were intended for only a small portion of the total Chapare area, the integrated packages and the guidelines for developing uninhabited lands were of great interest to CORDECO (which was assuming increasing responsibility for guiding regional development) and to sectoral institutions becoming involved in regional development planning. (Using the Chapare study as a case study during training sessions contributed to this interest.)

VI. Bibliography

Betancourt, E. Proyecto Chapare: Diagnosis de la Situación Institucional. Washington, D.C., OEA, December 1978.

Breton, F. "Working and Living Conditions of Migrant Workers in South America," International Labour Review, 114:339-354, November-December 1976.

Corporación de Desarrollo de Cochabamba. Análisis Socioeconómico y Programa de Acción Inmediata. Cochabamba, 1975.

Dorsey, J.F. A Case Study of Ex-Hacienda Toralapa, Upper Cochabamba Valley. R.P. No 65. Madison, Wisconsin, Land Tenure Center, 1975,

Dorsey, J.F. A Case Study of Lower Cochabamba Valley: Ex-Hacienda Parotani and Caramarca. R.P. No 64. Madison, Wisconsin, Land Tenure Center, 1975.

Inter-American Development Bank. FAO-BID Cooperative Program. Prioridades de Inversión en el Sector Agropecuario de Bolivia, Documento sobre Desarrollo Agrícola. N° 12. Washington, D.C., 1973.

Medina, E. Estudio de Mercadeo del Area de Chimoré. Cochabamba, IICA-PRODES, 1979.

Mirkow, I., and Oddone, C. Una Estrategia para el Desarrollo del Chapare. Washington, D.C., OAS, March 1979.

Mirkow, I., and Galleguillos, U. Presentación del Informe Final del Sector Desarrollo Social. Washington, D.C., OAS, June 1978.

Nelson, M. The Development of Tropical Lands. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, 1973.

OEA. Secretaría General/INC. Proyecto Chapare: Propuesta de Estudio para el Desarrollo Integrado. La Paz, OEA, May 1975.

OEA. Secretaría General/INC/República de Bolivia. Proyecto Chapare: Estudio para el Desarrollo Integrado. Cochabamba, OEA, 1980.

Petit, Miguel, et al. "Resumen de las Actividades Cumplidas y de las Propuestas de Acción Formuladas para el Desarrollo del Chapare." Cochabamba, August 1979 (unpublished).

Pohl, J., and Zepp, J. Latin America. New York, Columbia University, Institute of Latin American Studies, and E.P. Dutton, 1967.

U.S. Agency for International Development. Mission to Bolivia: Agriculture Development in Bolivia. LA/DR-DAEC/P-75-76. La Paz, 1974.

Unzueta, O. Mapa Ecológico de Bolivia: Memoria Explicativa. La Paz, MACA, 1975.

Weil, Thomas, E, Area Handbook of Bolivia. 2nd. ed. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of State, 1973.

Wennergren, E. Boyd, and Whitaker, Morris D. The Status of Bolivian Agriculture. New York, Praegers, 1975.

Wiggins, Steve. Colonización en Bolivia: Acción Cultural Loyola, Cap. III. Sucre, 1979.

Zondag, C.F. The Bolivian Economy During Next Two Decades: Informe de la Misión de Asistencia Técnica de las Naciones Unidas sobre Bolivia (working paper). La Paz, June 11 -13,1979.

Zuvekas, C., Jr. Rural Income Distribution in Bolivia. General Working Document No 2. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1977.

Zuvekas, C., Jr. Unemployment and Underemployment in Bolivian Agriculture. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1977.

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