Patacancha is a small, highland community, above Ollantaytambo, a 3.5 hour walk into the Patacancha Valley. Local health workers have found that some 50% of the children are malnourished, which contributes to the poor grades they receive. As well, they must walk long distances to school — some four hours each day.
We have convened a diverse group of stakeholders including the school, the teachers, the parents, local government, an NGO with experience in nutrition testing and a sustainable tourism organization – Country Walkers. Each of these groups will be contributing or investing in some way. This broad support base will help ensure the success and sustainability of the project.
The structure of the trout farm was built in 2010 with funding from Country Walkers. We have re-opened the farm and re-stocked it with trout to provide nutrition for the children, whose current diet is primarily potatoes.
The farm will be run by the school, with the assistance of a technical advisor employed by the regional government. The project will provide three trout-based lunches a week — prepared by community moms — and teaching about nutrition and local aquaculture/agriculture. Parents will contribute labour in the form of faenas, or community work days. We expect that this protein will enhance the children’s health and improve their levels of concentration and achievement at school. As well, we anticipate that these healthy meals served at school will act as an incentive to keep the children attending classes and advancing in their education.
As levels of trout production increase, we expect that some of the catch can be sold at the local market, thus ensuring the sustainability of the trout farm.