With a meeting with the communities of Paru Paru and Pampallacta in Pisac, Cusco, the Food Forever Experience 2019 was concluded, an event held from May 22 to 24 in our country, with the purpose of raising awareness and highlighting the riches of our agricultural diversity and its potential as a key tool to address food insecurity, anemia and malnutrition in the current context of climate change.
During its main day, on Thursday, May 23, the forum counted with the participation of the President of the Republic of Peru, Martín Vizcarra and the Vice President of the Republic and president of the Food Forever Mercedes Aráoz initiative; who as representatives of the State, ratified their commitment to promote the conservation of our Andean and Amazonian biodiversity, as well as to generate their development, innovation and competitiveness before the world; thus creating benefits in the health and economy of our production population and society in general. For this reason, they signed the International Declaration of Interdependence ‘A vision of biodiversity that guarantees our food forever’, the first of its kind in our country and which marks the beginning of a Peru with greater care of biodiversity.
This happened in front of a scenario with prominent executives, researchers and representatives of the gastronomic, business and institutional community of national and foreign character such as the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Inter-American Development Bank, the National Geographic Society, AJE, Wong, PepsiCo, the National Fisheries Society, among others, who also joined and signed this agreement.
The summit was organized by the World Fund for Crop Diversity (Crop Trust), in conjunction with the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Inkaterra hotel chain; through the Food Forever initiative, a global campaign that seeks to promote the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity.
THE CHALLENGE: PLANTING THE SEED
During the discussion panels and exchange of experiences of the event, the participants talked about the main challenges to increase productivity and food security worldwide. In particular, the conversation explored how climatic events such as rising temperatures have led to an increase in pests and diseases and a greater frequency of droughts, which has put global food production at risk.
The nutritional power of these crops and their great contribution to the resilience of agri-food systems were also discussed, as well as the great task that requires safeguarding them, because their variety can generate opportunities for the development of farmers. Allowing them to produce more nutritious crops, heat tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, is fundamental for their adaptation to future changes. Thus they could have a more varied proposal for the market, in addition to producing a healthier and more nutritious food that with their contributions of iron and zinc can help to counteract malnutrition and diseases such as anemia.
To close the debate, the role of biodiversity and production of Andean crops as an engine of empowerment, competitiveness and business innovation for farmers was made known. Promoting diversity, they are provided with additional income opportunities, with a differentiated value offer for companies in the agro-industrial sector and their consumers; allowing them to have a more competitive agriculture.
LISTENING TO THE MAIN ACTORS
For the closing day, the program aimed to integrate all the exhibits in the panels together with the knowledge of the producers of one of our most emblematic tubers in the world, the potato, people who for decades have been the guardians of its biodiversity.
To do so, a visit to the Potato Park was made in Pisac, Cusco, a place that is an icon and a living sample of how harmony and conservation of our biodiversity can be achieved together with nature. There all the participants visited the communities of Paru Paru and Pampallacta, where they learned about the more than 3,500 varieties of native potatoes that preserve their communities, as well as understood the processes that follow to safeguard them.
“The Potato Park is an in situ conservation initiative that protects the great diversity of cultivated varieties of native Peruvian potato. Now we are starting the same path for its wild relatives, in a secondary zone of origin and domestication located in the heights of Pisac. We currently have four of these species, which are very important for adapting cultivated potatoes to climate change. We know that this is the beginning of a path of important discoveries towards the future, as the wild relatives of our domesticated potatoes are the best source to face the challenges of a changing Andean climate “, explained Alejandro Argumedo Director of Programs at the ANDES Association, representative and guide of the six communities that make up the Potato Park.
On this day, Marie Haga, Executive Director, Crop Trust, addressed the communities to recognize and congratulate their work in the Potato Park. “We already knew and admired his work, preserving Peruvian biodiversity. However, now we are even more impressed than before the work they are doing because they have observed one of the greatest diversities of cultivated potato and are also preserving their wild relatives. Undoubtedly, these species can change the vision regarding how we can respond to the effects that are being caused by climate change. The Potato Park is an example of how you can live in peace and harmony with nature; and her work, an example to replicate in other parts of the world, “said the expert.
Finally, Bárbara Wells, general director of the International Potato Center, added that “Peru is not only the center of potato biodiversity in the world, its local production feeds the entire country and gives work to many Peruvians. Therefore, from the CIP we have the mission to promote its preservation, catalyze the sustainable consumption of its thousands of varieties, through the creation of business opportunities for farmers; as well as developing new varieties for the future. This meeting was the first major step for, together with the State and private companies, to start developing actions that guarantee the sustainability of our flagship tuber. “
- Cusco was chosen as the official headquarters for this mecca of preservation because it is the cradle of the potato, the fourth most consumed crop in the world, and the more than 3,500 planted varieties that we have in the country have characteristics to contribute to the food security of millions of people. However, the increase in temperatures and the extreme variability of current climate events reduces their productivity, increases the presence of pests and diseases, and creates an enormous risk for their conservation.
- Currently, two billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition because nutritious foods are too expensive or unavailable. In this regard, institutions such as the International Potato Center (CIP) and the World Crop Trust (Crop Trust) work on the preservation of biodiversity and the improvement of crops, through a process called biofortification. These new biofortified varieties can reach areas where malnutrition and anemia prevail, and thereby safeguard food health.
To know the event, visit http://bit.ly/ExperienciaFoodForever
You can learn more about the signing of the pact in https://youtu.be/5xpymep-eAQ