An article on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature blog, highlights Kai Pacha Foods, a new social enterprise that will work to bring Andrean crops including quinoa to the international market. It uses an innovative approach to integrate fair trade, sustainable incentives for agrobiodiversity conservation and communal governance of the agricultural landscape.
This enterprise will work with the indigenous Aymara communities in the Lake Titicaca region, who have been cultivating native quinoa varieties for thousands of years using ancestral systems of cultivation known as 'aynokas'. Many of these systems have disappeared over time and those that remain are under threat, along with vast riches of quinoa diversity – there are an estimated 3000 registered local varieties of quinoa.
Bioversity International has long since found in its research on the conservation and sustainable use of crop diversity, that market incentives are needed if farmers are to continue growing native varieties – international markets demand a uniform variety and appearance that undermines agricultural biodiversity.
Kai Pacha Foods are planning to remove this barrier by buying native quinoa varieties that will be used to produce products such as milk, where the client only sees the end product, removing the need for uniformity of appearance. The enterprise will work closely with scientists and Peruvian agricultural workers to create targeted approaches to protect quinoa diversity in a way that fits within the local context.
Read the article on Landscapes for People, Food and Nature
The Anyoke Landscape of Peru where communities are protecting quinoa diversity
Find out more about our research on marketing Andean grains.
Photo: Quinoa varieties conserved by Doña Adeleiva Castillo , a custodian farmer, in the Peruvian Andes. Credit: Bioversity International/A. Camacho