Last updated: 08/09/2016

Conservation and Sustainable Use of Native Potato Diversity in the “Potato Park”; Cusco, Peru

Peruvian "guardians" lead Potato Park to a secure future

Peru’s Potato Park, an unique 15000 ha reserve high in the Andes, was established to conserve the region’s potato biodiversity, a task that has become increasingly difficult as warming climates have altered the growing patterns of some of the area’s local varieties. The reserve is home to six indigenous Quechua communities whose 8 000 residents manage their communal lands jointly for their collective benefit. The communal activities are spearheaded by the organization known as the “guardian of native potatoes”, the Papa Arariwa Collective.

In the Potato Park, which is considered a centre of origin of potato, a typical farmer may grow more than 200 varieties, most of which are for local consumption or regional barter. Because of warming climate, local potato farmers now experiment at higher altitudes where the temperatures are lower. Ironically, they are using many varieties that had already disappeared from their fields but had been saved in the gene bank of the Potato Centre (CIP). The Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project is working with the local farmers as they repatriate varieties from the gene bank into their fields. Of the 1345 varieties now found in the potato park, 779 accessions were collected locally, 410 were repatriated from CIP and 157 were received through seed exchanges.

Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES)
Alejandro Argumedo

Duration of the project
- Start of the project (month/year): 10/2009
- End of the project (month/year): 10/2011

Peruvian “guardians” lead Potato Park to a secure future

Additional resources

Keywords: Potato; Annex I Crop; Food security; Agrobiodiversity; Intellectual Property Rights; Enterprises; Local Registers;