Change Magazine July 2017 issue - Page 21

Photo by: Gaia Luziatelli Promoting Agro-Biodiversity in the Andean Communities From oblivion to sustainable growth By: Martín Zúñiga T he producer of native potatoes, barley, quinoa, olluco and peas in Peru with more than 15,000 hectares concentrated in the districts of Tayacaja and Aco- bamba. Ironically, 80% of this province’s population lives in a state of poverty. It continues to persist through agriculture though its production is basi- Over the years, the govern- cally for self-consumption. ment has not prioritized the Besides the fact that people national budget for develop- ment programs or social im- in these provinces lack sup- pact projects in areas that are port from the government, the hard-hit by rains, cold and larger problem stems from big famine. Cajamarca, Huan- companies taking advantage of cavelica, Amazonas, Apurimac them. Local farmers are poorly and Junín are provinces that paid by businessmen who pur- chase their products at very low struggle with this problem. prices. The money they obtain The province of Huancavel- is barely enough to cover their ica for instance, is the first basic expenses and to continue Peruvian econo- my is known to be one of the least risky economies in Lat- in America. The World Bank identifies it as one of the fast- est-growing countries in the region. Despite this, there are aspects masked by these figures that need to be given attention. PERU production. Taking matters into their own hands to address poverty and promote agriculture and sustainable development, the Association of Guardians of Native Potatoes from the Cen- ter of Peru (AGUAPAN) was founded. AGUAPAN is an associa- tion of 50 custodian farmers from five departments in Peru (Pasco, Lima, Huánuco, Huan- cavelica and Junín). AGUA- PAN is financed by HZPC - a Dutch potato-breeding com- pany that allocates a sum to this association annually as an acknowledgement of the im- portance of the conservation and selection work done by 18