Greater food security in the impoverished Andean regions of Peru will be the focus of a UBC-Peruvian study thanks to a $3.4 million investment from Canadian development agencies.
The 42-month initiative will work with smallholder farmers and indigenous people in two regions of the Peruvian Andes known for their biodiversity and active farmers’ associations. The aim is to increase food security by improving sustainable, organic agriculture, production and marketing, focusing on staple crops such as potatoes and other Andean tuber crops.
The research team comprises LFS Profs. Andrew Riseman, Eduardo Jovel and Judy McLean, along with Roberto Ugás, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Manuel Ruiz, Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, and other stakeholders.
“Our goal is to enhance local farmers’ knowledge, innovations and practices regarding native crop management, improvement and selection to increase yields,” said Riseman, who studies plant genetics and the efficient use of nutrients and intercrop interaction for sustainable production.
To foster intensive and integrated farming, the researchers will explore participatory plant selection, assessing the genetic diversity and traits associated with sustainability of current and under-used indigenous crops.
“The contributions of indigenous people to agriculture remain crucial to the future of food security in the region,” said Associate Professor Jovel, head of the UBC Aboriginal Health and Natural Products Chemistry Lab. “The Andean region is a repository of traditional knowledge and an asset for the development of sustainable strategies for farmers.”