Oregano is not a traditional crop in Bolivia; it is recognized as a cash crop because it brings in more income for the producer than traditional products, such as corn or potatoes. A great advantage for oregano growers is that the investment is less than other crops demand. Oregano is harvested up to three times a year and remains in the soil for up to six years; it is considered to be a “savings account” crop for the producer.

Since 2002, Fundación Valles, in alliance with SOCODEVI (Sociedad de Cooperación para el Desarrollo Internacional, which means Society of Cooperation for International Development) of Canada, is implementing the program of spices and other alternative products in the valleys of Chuquisaca and concentrates its efforts on oregano. The first Applied Technological Innovation Projects were directed towards benefiting a membership of five farm cooperatives affiliated with AGROCENTRAL. Afterwards, the program was extended towards the department of Tarija, where there is currently an Association of oregano producers in full swing.

In 2005, the Unidad de Negocios de Especias y Condimentos (UNEC S.A., which means the Spices and Condiments Business Unit) was constituted as a company within AGROCENTRAL, SOCODEVI, and Fundación Valles. This takes charge of the entire oregano production chain, that is, production of the vegetable material, technical assistance at the level of small producers in the integrated management of cultivation, harvest, dehydration, gathering, processing and treatment (stripping, cleaning, selection, and classification), and marketing.

The Spice Program of Fundación Valles is also intervening in projects to promote the production, improvement, and marketing of other spices, such as anise and cumin. These enterprises are done in Cono Sur of the department of Cochabamba.


Coverage: 16 Municipalities
Cochabamba (3), Chuquisaca (10), Tarija (3)

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Ficha Técnica


Completed projects


Beneficiaries in completed projects


Technology adoption rate


Increase in average income per crop


Municipalities involved


Projects underway


Beneficiaries trained during projects


Beneficiaries receiving technical assistance


  • Introduction and validation of spices and varieties of aromatic plants and condiments (oregano, anise, cumin, sage, thyme and tarragon)
  • Generation and distribution of a technological package for the organic and conventional oregano production
  • Establishment of two Agroindustrial Complexes for Processing Spices and Condiments in Tomina, Chuquisaca, and in Santa Ana La Vieja, Tarija, with annual production capacities of 1,500,000 (23 hectares) and 1,000,000 seedlings (17 hectares), respectively
  • Establishment of 98 hectares of oregano in Chuquisaca and 22 hectares in Tarija
  • Establishment and consolidation of the community business UNEC S.A. to lead in spice production and marketing
  • Development, implementation, and distribution of various dehydrators for oregano (industrial gas ovens, community dryers and hand-made family dryers)
  • Export oregano to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay
  • Establish an essential oil extraction plant
  • Introduce technological innovations and on-going technical assistance to producers in Chuquisaca, Cochabamba and Tarija
  • Improve the traditional management of anise and cumin cultivation by means of new varieties, densities and weed control, and harvest practices, among others
  • Introduction and distribution of threshing technology for anise at the small producer level
  • Establishment of anise gathering and treatment centres
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