Advancing commercial and productive development in rural Bolivia


Customer service and sales capabilities are key skills that improve access to markets and business volume. Therefore, the United Nations Development Program in Bolivia (UNDP), together with the Autonomous Municipal Government of Sacaba and the National Training School organized a workshop to strengthen these business and commercial management skills. The meeting was attended by more than 30 people, women and men, from different associations that work on production and sales in the municipality of Sacaba.

"Investing time in trainings will always be productive ... but we generally make use of them as if they were medication, only when we need it; However, motivating producers is a pressing need, many of them close their ventures simply for lack of motivation", says Miguel Ricaldi, manager of the association ESCAPE.

The workshop was based on direct interaction with attendees at two levels: rational and emotional, thereby facilitating in-depth work not only related to knowledge but also to attitudes, values ​​and skills. After the course and at the request of the attendees, the creation of a steering committee was requested. This committee would work on the creation of a Federation of Productive Initiatives Associations, with the aim of improving their marketing conditions and forming a joint support platform. In addition, the attendees now have the capacity to create committees dedicated to customer service to follow-up sales and generate loyalty, while creating horizontal sales committees.

The week before the workshop, producer associations from the municipalities of Tiquipaya and Sacaba made two field visits to strengthen capacities. During the first visit, farmers participated in training sessions about the production and use of certified vegetable seeds at the National Seed Research Center; in the second visit, associations of both municipalities visited APRAE Totora, the Association of Ecological Agricultural Producers of Totora, to learn about experiences and strategies to access markets of products from agroecological ventures. During this visit, the participants learnt about the process necessary to consolidate an association and the process to register products at the national service of food safety.

"For me it has meant a new approach to a way of relating to people to sell our products that I did not know, but I think I still have a lot to learn. It was nice to share this new knowledge of "sales and customer service" with other people who have the same interests as me ", affirmed Sandra Macías, from the Asociación de Reposteras Gastrónomas Villa “APREGARAVO” after the training on customer service and sales.

The activities are part of the project "Strengthening the Productive and Commercial Capacities of the Municipalities of Sacaba and Tiquipaya", executed by the UNDP Bolivia and financed by the Balearic Islands Cooperation (Spain). Its main objective is to contribute to increase the income of the rural producer’s associations of the mentioned municipalities and strengthening their productive and commercial capacities.

The stimulation of economic growth of producers’ entrepreneurships through training, and the promotion of articulation with institutions is part of the achievement of the eighth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG8): "Decent work and economic growth" that promotes entrepreneurship and the creation of employment within their productive units.

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