Greenhouse Program

Bolivia Greenhouse Program

Pan American Silver developed its CDI Tool with the overall objective of improving the long-term success of our socio-economic development programs.

The tool is designed to help our community teams identify programs appropriate for the local social context, engage communities in the program, and develop indicators to evaluate the program’s progress and success. In 2016, we piloted the tool on a greenhouse program in the 11 communities near our San Vicente mine in Potosi, Bolivia, which is located in a region with pockets of extreme poverty. The program, which entailed supporting the community in greenhouse construction and maintenance as well as in sustainable food production, was identified and developed in consultation with the community and in response to concerns over the lack of accessible fresh vegetables and children’s poor nutrition. 

Working with the community, we identified the factors necessary for the program’s long-term success: 

  • Hiring an agronomist/nutritionist to work with the communities for the duration of the program.
  • Training families on nutrition and promoting a culture of healthy eating.
  • Training families in food production.
  • Promoting the participation of vulnerable groups in food production.
  • Promoting the efficient use of natural resources and organic gardening practices.

At the end of the three-year pilot, all 11 original communities were still participating in the program. 166 families were producing and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Overall, we are pleased with performance on key program indicators. 

Next steps

The greenhouse program has been extended until 2020 and will be re-evaluated at that time. We will focus on improving the existing infrastructure and providing participating families with relevant education, such as nutrition programs, cooking classes, and organic growing practices.

Key program indicators

1) Infrastructure

Number of greenhouses constructed

Goal: 100 greenhouses by 2018 

Outcome: 109 greenhouses

2) Production

Amount of vegetable production
and consumption per family per month 

Goal: 16 kg per family per month (other than potatoes) by 2018   

Outcome: Three-year average of 7.1 kg per family per month(1)

3) Production Area

Amount of land used for production 

Goal: 1,500 m2 by 2018 

Outcome: 1,315 m2(2)

(1) Although production did reach 8 kg per family per month in 2017, we realized that we would not meet our original goal due to the challenging climate of the region.

(2) Challenging weather conditions was the primary reason this goal was not met. We also had lower-than-expected community participation in the project’s second year.