Puno, Peru 8 September 2015 – The Peruvian Ministry of Environment, in cooperation with Bioversity International, officially signed a contract with six quinoa-producing communities for the conservation and sustainable use of this nutritious crop.
The contract is part of a science-based programme – called ‘Rewards for Agrobiodiversity Conservation Services’ (RACS) – that directly benefits indigenous farming communities which have managed native crop genetic resources on their farms for generations. The goal of RACS is to create an incentive mechanism for the conservation of agricultural biodiversity. In the case of the communities of Puno, in southeastern Peru on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the programme focuses on a set of native quinoa cultivars that are at risk of being lost.
In order to identify the communities most suited to conserve these quinoa cultivars, a competitive tender took place. The six farming communities of Santa Maria, Sihuayro, Lacasia, Huataquita, Huaytahuancho and Macaya Piripirini won the competitive bidding and pledged to continue their work as custodians of quinoa at a ceremony in Sihuayro, Juli district, Chucuito Province, Puno.
They were selected from among the 40 farming communities (30 of which submitted a bid offer) from the Puno region who participated in a workshop organized last August by the Ministry of the Environment, Bioversity International, the Regional Government of Puno, the Regional Agricultural Directorate and the National University of the Altiplano.
The Ministry of Environment, with its partners, plans to expand the RACS programme to other areas where farming communities preserve native crop varieties and species of importance to local and global food security. Peru is a country rich in agricultural and tree biodiversity, and is the centre of origin for many varieties of crops such as quinoa, chilli pepper, potato and fruit trees such as cacao, cherimoya and Brazil nut.
The initiative is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment under the auspices of the Euro Eco-Trade Programme.
The ceremony was attended by Jose Alvarez, Director General of Biodiversity, Ministry of Environment; Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International; Marleni Ramirez, Regional Representative for the Americas of Bioversity International; Adam Drucker, Senior Ecological Economist, Bioversity International; Edson Apaza, Regional Manager of Natural Resources and Environment of the Regional Government of Puno; Juan Carlos Aquino, Mayor of Chucuito, Juli; Alfredo Rodriguez, Mayor of the Rural Community of Sihuayro; Rigoberto Laura, genebank curator of the National University of the Altiplano; and governors and mayors of the communities that will participate in the programme.
Harvesting quinoa in Peru. Credit: Bioversity International/A. Camacho