Back in Cobija: flooding and still no vehicle

david mercado- reuters flooding bolivia
Cattle trying to escape flooding in the Beni Department: in Amazonia Bolivia the flooding has been some of the worst in living memory. Image: David Mercado / Reuters

Projects always seem relatively straightforward when you plan them but of course the reality can be very different. We are working with two  hard to predict phenomena: the fruiting time of our seed trees and the weather, coupled with one inflexible one: the harvest season for brazil nuts, and one which with hindsight we should have predicted, but did’t: the difficulty of hiring a vehicle to access our sites.

The flood defences for the seedlings at the Palacio nursery. The whole community is now underwater and the villagers have sought temporary accommodation. The seedlings are apparently fine though!

Because Inga seed cannot be stored we don’t have much choice as to when to sow. Also because they grow very quickly there is only so much time they can remain in the seedling nursery before their root-systems become damaged. This year the wet-season began at the usual time, but with unusually hard and persistent rain which has caused widespread flooding in the Bolivian Amazon resulting in a state of emergency being declared in the neighbouring Beni Department.

Flooding and storms have made two of our sites impossible to get to. Here Rolman is using a motorbike to get through treefalls on the road to Pimpollo. Image: Rolman Velarde / Herencia

Couple that with the fact that our seedlings are now ready to sow but most of the communities are still out in the forest harvesting Brazil nuts and the situation becomes a little concerning. Add to this the fact that the main road and bridge to one of our sites is underwater and to another is unusable then it becomes very concerning.

Antonio, agronomist at the Pimpollo Israelite community. The Pimpollo community settled from the Andes two years ago and have adapted remarkably well to the change of scene


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