In the Andes, open burning is a common biomass management practice for many crops, including grasslands, sugarcane, and maize, among others. Peru is a prime example where conservation agriculture (CA) techniques could help avoid the need for burning, and this would actually enhance soil properties, putting a halt to degradation. CA is a farming system that promotes maintenance of permanent soil cover along with minimum soil disturbance (i.e. no tillage) as well as diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and to improved and sustained crop production. To learn more, please visit our conservation agriculture section dedicated to no-burn alternatives as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) information page on the subject.
Since December 2017, the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Agricultural Initiative, co-chaired the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), has been partnering with CARE Peru (CARE), the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP), and the National Institute for Agricultural Innovation (INIA) to educate and demonstrate the multiple benefits of no-burn alternatives together with the measurement of air parameters. The project aims to develop pilot fields in various rural communities in Huancayo area. These fields may include crops, pastures or improved grasslands. In addition, educational activities and training sessions for farmers and local agrarian schools are being held to improve knowledge about the ecosystem.
Lack of awareness about the negative effects of open burning is also an issue in the region, so the project includes field days for farmers and extension agents, disseminates materials dwellers and farmers in nearby rural and urban communities as well as to local and national policymakers. Further, the project has formed a Strategic Support Group (SSG), which aims to provide guidance and support on technical, environmental, political, and social issues as the project moves forward. This group is composed of experts from FAO, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) as well as local experts from the partnering organizations INIA, CARE, and IGP. This group also aims to scale up the project and finding new opportunities to expand its efforts to eradicate open burning.
Please reach out to Juliana (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the Peru demonstration project.