Economic assessment at farm level of the implementation of deficit irrigation for quinoa production in the Southern Bolivian Altiplano

  • J. Cusicanqui K. U. Leuven University, Division of Bioeconomics. Celestijnenlaan 200e 3001 Heverlee
  • K. Dillen K. U. Leuven University, Division of Agricultural and Food Economics. Celestijnenlaan 200e 3001 Heverlee
  • M. Garcia Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, UMSA, Facultad de Agronomía. Calle Landaeta esq. Abdón Saavedra. La Paz
  • S. Geerts K. U. Leuven University, Division of Soil and Water Management. Celestijnenlaan 200e 3001 Heverlee
  • D. Raes K. U. Leuven University, Division of Soil and Water Management. Celestijnenlaan 200e 3001 Heverlee
  • E. Mathijs K. U. Leuven University, Division of Agricultural and Food Economics. Celestijnenlaan 200e 3001 Heverlee
Keywords: aqua crop, yield response function, economic water productivity, Monte Carlo simulation


In the Southern Bolivian Altiplano recent research has suggested to introduce deficit irrigation as a strategy to boost quinoa yields and to stabilize it at 2.0 ton ha-1. In this study we carried out an economic assessment of the implementation of deficit irrigation at farm level using a hydro-economic model for simulating profit for quinoa production. As input of the model we worked with previously developed farms typology (livestock, quinoa and subsistence farms), simulated quinoa production with and without irrigation using AquaCrop model, and calculated yield response functions for four different climate scenarios (wet, normal, dry and very dry years). Results from the hydro-economic model demonstrate that maximum profit is achieved with less applied irrigated water than for maximum yield, and irrigated quinoa earned more profit than rainfed production for all farms types and climate scenarios. As expected, the benefits of irrigation under dry and very dry climate conditions were higher than those under normal and wet years, and benefits among farms types were higher for quinoa farms. In fact, profit of irrigated quinoa might be stabilized at around BOB 6500 ha-1 (about USD 920) compared with the huge differences found for rainfed conditions for all climate scenarios. Interestingly, the economic water productivity, expressed in terms of economic return for amount of applied irrigated water (BOB mm-1), reached the highest values with intermediate and low level of water availability schemes of deficit irrigation for all climate scenarios.


Download data is not yet available.


Aguilar PC, Jacobsen SE, 2003. Cultivation of quinoa on the Peruvian Altiplano. Food Rev Int 19(1-2): 31-41.

Allen R, Pereira L, Raes D, Smith M, 1998. Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for calculating crop water requirements. FAO Irrig Drain Paper 56, Rome.

Aroni G, 2001. Producción de quinoa en Bolivia. Primer Taller International sobre Quinoa. Universidad Agraria La Molina. Lima, Perú.

Aroni J, Cayoja M, Laime M, 2009. Situación actual al 2008 de la quinua real en el Altiplano Sur de Bolivia. Fundación AUTAPO: Programa complejo productivo Altiplani Sur, Oruro, Bolivia.

Boardman AE, 2001. Cost-benefit analysis: concepts and practice. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA.

Bosque H, Lemeur R, Van Damme P, Jacobsen SE, 2003. Ecophysiological analysis of drought and salinity stress of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd). Food Rev Int 19(1-2): 111-119.

Brent RJ, 2006. Applied cost-benefit analysis. Edward Elgar Publ Ltd, UK.

Collao Perez FR, 2001. La cadena productiva de la quinoa en Bolivia. World Bank Report.

Comai S, Bertazzo A, Bailoni L, Zancato M, Costa CV, Allegri G, 2007. The content of proteic and nonproteic (free and protein-bound) tryptophan in quinoa and cereal flours. Food Chem 100: 1350-1355.

Consorcio ASECAL S.L., Mercurio S.L., 2011. Estudio de mercado para la quinoa y la kiwicha en Alemania. Proyecto UE-Peru/PENX. Agencia Peruana de Cooperación Internacional & Comunidad Europea. Lima, Peru.

Cossio J, 2008. Agricultura de conservación con un enfoque de manejo sostenible en el Altiplano Sur. Habitat 75: 44-49.

Cusicanqui J, Garcia, M, Raes, D, Geerts, S, & Mathijs, E, 2011. Caracterización de los sistemas de subsistencia basados en la producción de quinua en el Altiplano Sur de Bolivia. In: Compendio trabajos de investigación "Proyecto QUINAGUA". La Paz, Bolivia. pp: 111-129.

Demont, M, Cerovska, M, Daems W, Dilleb, K, Fogarasi, J, Mathijs, E, Muska, F, Soukup, J, Tollens, E, 2008. Ex ante impact assessment under imperfect information: Biotechnology in new member states of the EU. J Agr Econ 59(3), 463-486.

DeTar WR, 2008. Yield and growth characteristics for cotton under various irrigation regimes on sandy soil. Agr Water Manage 95, 69-76.

Dillen K, Demont M, Tollens E, 2008. European Sugar Policy Reform and Agricultural Innovation. Can Agric Econ 56: 533-553.

Dillen K, Mitchell PD, Tollens E, 2010. On the competitiveness of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera damage abatement strategies in Hungary: a bio-economic approach. J Appl Entomol 134: 395-408.

Dosso M, Bres A, Moreau S, 2006. How soil misuse ends with farming system disintegration. A Bolivian Altiplano example. 18th World Congress of Soil Science. July 9-15, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Duran A, Moscoso O, Romero A, Huibers F, Agodzo S, Chenini F, Van Lier J, 2003. Use of wastewater in irrigated agriculture. Countries studies from Bolivia, Ghana and Tunisia. Vol 1: Bolivia. WUR, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

English M, 1990. Deficit irrigation. I. Analytical framework. J Irrig Drain Eng 116(3): 399-412.

English M, Raja SN, 1996. Perspectives on deficit irrigation. Agr Water Manage 32: 1-14.

Felix D, 2008. Cultivo sostenible de la quinua en Bolivia: prácticas individuales y reglas comunitarias. Report of project "Sostenibilidad de los sistemas de producción de las familias indigenas de los municipios de Llica, Tahua y Salinas de Garci Mendoza". Agronomes and Vétérinaires sans Frontiéres. La Paz, Bolivia.

Felix D, Villca C, 2009. Quinua y territorio. Experiencias de acompa-amiento a la gestión del territorio y a la autogestión comunal en la zona intersalar del Altiplano Boliviano. Agronomes and Vétérinaires sans Frontiéres. La Paz, Bolivia.

Fereres E, Soriano MA, 1996. Deficit irrigation for reducing agricultural water use. Agr Water Manage 32: 1-14.

García M, Raes D, Jacobsen S, 2003. Evapotranspiration analysis and irrigation requirements of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) in the Bolivian highlands. Agr Water Manage 60: 119-134.

García M, Raes D, Allen R, Herbas C, 2004. Dynamics of reference evapotranspiration in the Bolivian highlands (Altiplano). Agr Forest Metereol 125: 67-82.

García M, Raes D, Jacobsen SE, Michel T, 2007. Agroclimatic constraints for rainfed agriculture in the Bolivian Altiplano. J Arid Environ 71: 109-121.

Garcia-Vila M, 2010. Advances in the optimization of irrigation water use: upscaling from crop to farm. Tesis Doctoral, Universidad de Córdoba. Spain.

García-Vila M, Fereres E, Mateos L, Orgaz F, Steduto P, 2009. Deficit irrigation optimization of cotton with AquaCrop. Agron J 101(3): 477-187.

Geerts S, Raes D, García M, Del Castillo C, Buytaert W, 2006. Agro-climatic suitability mapping for crop production in the Bolivian Altiplano: A case study for quinoa. Agr Forest Metereol 139: 399-412.

Geerts S, Raes D, García M, Vacher J, Mamani R, Mendoza J, Huanca R, Morales B, Miranda R, Cusicanqui J, 2008a. Introducing deficit irrigation to stabilize yield of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Eur J Agron 28: 427-436.

Geerts S, Raes D, García M, Condori O, Mamani J, Miranda R, Cusicanqui J, Taboada C, Yucra E, Vacher J, 2008b. Could deficit irrigation be a suitable practice for quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in the Southern Bolivia Altiplano? Agr Water Manage 95: 909-917.

Geerts S, Raes D, García M, Taboada C, Miranda R, Cusicanqui J, Michel T, Vacher J, 2009a. Modeling the potential for closing quinoa yield gaps under varying water availability in the Bolivian Altiplano. Agr Water Manage 96: 1652-1658.

Geerts S, Raes D, García M, Miranda R, Cusicanqui J, Taboada C, Mendoza J, Huanca R, Osco V, Steduto P, 2009b. Simulating yield response of quinoa to water availability with AquaCrop. Agron J 101(3): 499-508.

Griffiths W, Zhao X, 2000. A unified approach to sensitivity analysis in equilibrium displacement models: comment. Am J Agr Econ 82(1): 236-240.

Hellin J, Higman S, 2005. Crop diversity and livelihood security in the Andes. Development in Practice 15: 165-174.

Hexem RW, Heady EO, 1978. Water production function for irrigated agriculture. Iowa State Univ Press.

Hsiao T, Heng L, Steduto P, Rojas-Lara B, Raes D, Fereres E, 2009. AquaCrop - The FAO crop model to simulate yield response to water: III. Parameterization and testing for maize. Agron J 101(3): 448-459.

IBCE, 2012. Quinua en Bolivia. Instituto Boliviano de Comercio Exterior, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

IBTA, 1994. Annual Report 1993-1994 Quinoa National Program. Instituto Boliviano de Tecnología Agropecuaria, La Paz, Bolivia.

INE, 2000. Anuario Estadístico 1999. Instituto Boliviano de Estadísticas, La Paz, Bolivia.

INE, 2008. Anuario Estadístico 2007. Instituto Boliviano de Estadísticas, La Paz, Bolivia.

INE, 2009. Estadísticas de Comercio Exterior 2008. Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas, La Paz, Bolivia.

INE, 2011. Anuario Estadístico 2010. Instituto Nacional de Estadística, La Paz, Bolivia.

Jacobsen SE, 2011. The situation for quinoa and its production in Southern Bolivia: from economic success to environmental disaster. J Agron Crop Sci 197: 390-399.

Jacobsen SE, Mujica A, Ortiz R, 2003. The global potential for quinoa and other Andean crops. Food Rev Int 19(1-2): 139-148.

Jacobsen SE, Monteros C, Christiansen J, Bravo L, Corcuera L, Mujica A, 2005. Plant responses of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) to frost at various phenological stages. Eur J Agron 22: 131-139.

Jacobsen SE, Monteros C, Corcuera L, Bravo L, Christiansen J, Mujica A, 2007. Frost resistance mechanisms in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Eur J Agron 26: 471-475.

Jansen C, Jacobsen SE, Andersen M, Nu-ez N, Andersen S, Rasmussen L, Mogensen V, 2000. Leaf gas exchange and water relations of field quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) during soil drying. Eur J Agron 13: 11-25.

Joffre R, Acho J, 2008. Quinoa, descanso y tholares en el sur del Altiplano Boliviano. Revista Habitat 75: 38-48.

MDRyT-CONACOPROQ, 2009). Política nacional de la quinua. Ministerio de Desarrollo Rural y Tierras - Consejo Nacional de Comercializadores y Productores de Quinua, La Paz, Bolivia.

Molden D, 2003. A water productivity framework for understanding and action. In: Water productivity in agriculture: Limits and Oportunities for Improvement (Kijne J, Barker R, & Molden D, eds.). Int Water Manage Inst, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Pp: 1-18.

Mujica A, Ortiz R, Bonifacio A, Saravia R, Corredor G, Romero A, Jacobsen SE, 2006. Agroindustria de la quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) en los países andinos. UNDP, Concytec (Perú), PROINPA (Bolivia), UNC (Colombia), Puno, Peru.

Oweis T, Hachum A, 2009. Optimizing supplemental irrigation: tradeoffs between profitability and sustainability. Agr Water Manage 96(3): 511-516.

Pearce D, Atkinson G, Mourato S, 2006. Cost-benefit analysis and the environment: recent developments. OECD, Paris.

Pearsall DM, 1992. The origins of plant cultivation in South America. In: The origins of agriculture (Cowan CW & Watson PJ, eds.), Smithsonian Inst Press, Washington DC. pp: 173-205.

Pereira LS, Oweis T, Zairi A, 2002. Irrigation management under water scarcity. Agr Water Manage 57: 175-206.

Pérez-Pérez JG, García J, Robles JM, Botia P, 2010. Economic analysis of navel orange cv. 'Lane late' grown on two different drought-tolerant rootstocks under deficit irrigation in South-eastern Spain. Agr Water Manage 97(1): 157-164.

Playán E, Mateos L, 2006. Modernization and optimization of irrigation systems to increase water productivity. Agr Water Manage 80: 100-116.

PNUD-Bolivia, 2008. El Altiplano. El potencial de la agricultura orgánica y la fibra de camélidos de los Andes. Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo-Bolivia, La Paz, Bolivia.

Raes D, Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Fereres E, 2009. AquaCrop - The FAO crop model to simulate yield response to water: II. Main algorithms and software description. Agron J 101(3): 438-447.

Raes D, Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Fereres E, 2012. AquaCrop Reference Manual. FAO, Land and Water Division. Rome.

Repo-Carrasco R, Espinoza C, Jacobsen SE, 2003. Nutritional value of use of the Andean crops quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and ka-iwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule). Food Rev Int 19: 179-189.

Rodrigues GC, Pereira LS, 2009. Assessing economic impacts of deficit irrigation as related to water productivity and water costs. Biosyst Eng 103(4): 536-551.

Rojas W, Soto JL, Carrasco E, 2004. Study on the social, environmental and economic impact of quinoa promotion in Bolivia. PROINPA Foundation, La Paz, Bolivia.

Romero P, García J, Botía P, 2006. Cost-benefit analysis of a regulated deficit-irrigated almond orchard under subsurface drip irrigation conditions in Southeastern Spain. Irrig Sci 24(3): 175-184.

Sevruk B, Geiger H, 1981. Selection of distribution types for extremes of precipitation. World Metereological Organization, Operational Hydrology Report No. 15, WMO- No. 560, Geneva.

Soraide D, Revilla R, Claver MP, Gutiérrez Z, 2011. La quinua real en el Altiplano Sur de Bolivia. Fundación FAUTAPO - Educación para el Desarrollo, La Paz, Bolivia.

Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Raes D, Fereres E, 2009. AquaCrop - The FAO crop model to simulate yield response to water: I. Concepts and underlying principles. Agron J 101(3): 426-437.

Taylor HM, Jordan WR, Sinclair TR, 1983. Limitations to efficient water use in crop production. Am Soc Agron Crop Sci Soc Soil Sci Soc of America. Madison, WI, USA.

UNDP, 2010. Human Development Report 2010. 20th Aniversary Edition. United Nations Development Programme, NY, USA.

Vacher J, 1998. Responses of two main crops, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd) and papa amarga (Solanum juzepczukii Bulk) to drought on the Bolivian Altiplano: significance of local adaptation. Agr Ecosyst Environ 68: 99-108.

How to Cite
CusicanquiJ., DillenK., GarciaM., GeertsS., RaesD., & MathijsE. (2013). Economic assessment at farm level of the implementation of deficit irrigation for quinoa production in the Southern Bolivian Altiplano. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 11(4), 894-907.
Agricultural economics