Capinota is a small town in the Bolivian Department of Cochabamba and capital of the Capinota Province.
is situated at an altitude
of 2.380 m where the rivers Río Arque
and Río Rocha
meet to become the Río Caine
and the Río Grande
downstream. It is located 66 kilometers south of the department capital Cochabamba
on the northern river bank of Río Arque, at .
The climate is semi-arid
with a yearly rainfall average of 500 mm and a temperature average of 18°C. The dry season
lasts from May to September and has lower temperatures but no frost. The rainy season
lasts from December to February and is warmer.
Capinota's population has risen from 3,955 (census 1992) to 4,801 (census 2001) and is estimated to be 5,242 by 2006. The annual population growth is 1.77%. The population is mainly of Quechua
Industry and Trade
Near Capinota there is Coboce Mill
, a cement
industry, the only major industrial activity in the Capinota vicinity
Because of the absence of frost, conditions for agriculture are favourable all year round. Crops which are mainly cultivated are potatoes
. There are also horticultural
activities, such as vineyards
and fruit trees
, like peaches
The average field size is only 0.35 ha, ranging from 600 to 6000 m². Land is owned privately as well as rented on a share-cropping basis. The land is prepared and ploughed manually and with oxen, tractors are rarely used.
Farmers in Capinota, as in some other valleys of the Cochabamba Department, practise the technique of lameo (or: may'kas), an indigenous
method of soil conservation, to enrich and conserve their soils. They make use of the minerals and organic sediments of Río Arque which are freed by rains in the upper part of the river basin. These materials are trapped by altering the course of the river in the Capinota basin to flood some of the fields along the river bed.
To alter the course of the river, bocatomas are made, man-made openings or inlets, which have to be rebuilt after each flooding by the river, which is done every 1-3 years. These bocatomas are 30 cm high and capture an average layer of sediment of 10 cm in every field. Building these 'dykes' around the fieds is mainly done in December at the beginning of the rainy season. Between the outer dykes and inside the fields, small canals 35 cm deep and 80 cm wide are built to distribute the water equally. At the lower end of the field furrows drain the excess water, so that the land inside the outer dykes is covered by 12 to 15 cm of water.
Lameo irrigation and sedimentation at Capinota cover 228 ha and more than 200 farmers participate in it. It enables the farmers to practise an intensive and market oriented agriculture where mainly potatoes and Dutch tomatoes are grown. In fields located further away from the river, the soil is enriched by mixing the river sediments with the existing soil, adding chicken manure.
From studies of geomorphology and sedimentation in the Valle Alto region it can be estimated that the technique of lameo goes back as far as 1500 BCE.