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Peru’s Vibrant Events: A Medley of Diverse Experiences

By Angel Villavicencio, Milagros Ysuhuaylas, Kelly Alvarez, Pavel Lozano (Fovida) and Ana Lucía Núñez (Oxfam)

Agrobiodiversity and Barter Fair – Paucará 2023

On July 20, the “First Agrobiodiversity and Barter Fair – Paucará 2023” was held in the province of Acobamba, in the Huancavelica, central highlands of Peru.

Barter is an ancestral mechanism local communities use to supply themselves with seeds, food and other useful products that allow them to diversify their production and food systems.

The fair was a space for articulation between conservationist producers, women and men leaders of the ECAs groups, economic organizations, agrarian associations, public and private institutions and academics from the National University of Huancavelica, for inter-learning and contributing to increase agrobiodiversity and revalue ancestral practices as adaptation measures to climate change and food crisis. In addition, there was an exhibition, sale and exchange of native seeds among producers, who revalued the use and promotion, and the nutritional value of local food plants which are also known as Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) and forgotten foods, as well as native seeds. There were more than 250 varieties of tuberous species of native potato, olluco, oca and mashua and more than 30 varieties of Andean grains of wheat, quinoa, barley, kiwicha, kañiwa, broad bean and pea.

Attendees tasted ancestral recipes and culinary innovations based on local foods and seed producers promoted native seeds of traditional and certified categories, establishing contacts for their commercialization. The public institutions committed to strengthening a space of articulation to promote the recognition of the communities of the province of Acobamba as an Agrobiodiversity Zone, based on the richness of native crop varieties that are maintained in this territory.

This initiative, promoted by the Sowing Diversity = Harvesting Security (SD=HS) project and the District Municipality of Paucará, jointly by the Association of Guardians of the Native Potato (AGUAPAN), the Regional Agrarian Directorate of the region, the National Agrarian Health Service of Peru (SENASA Huancavelica), the Zonal Directorate of AGRORURAL, DESCO Centro, the Yanapai Group, the Ecumenical Center for Promotion and Social Action Centro (CEDEPAS Centro), and the National University of Huancavelica.

To the rhythm of the dance of the scissors and music of the pitureros of Huancavelica, the culture of the Great Chopcca Nation was revalued, and agreements were established to strengthen this event the next year.


Native potato producers from the Pro Human Rights Association visited members of the Pacha Committee in Paucará, Huancavelica

A learning exchange visit was done by the community of San Antonio de Culluchaca, in the district and province of Huanta in the department of Ayacucho, which works in alliance with Pro Human Rights Association (APRODEH) Ayacucho to the Pacha Committee, located in the district of Paucará, in the department of Huancavelica on 17 August 2023 where 06 women and 08 men native potato producers participated.

During the visit, they shared valuable experiences on the production and marketing of traditional and certified native potato seeds, produced in an agroecological way and in harmony with nature. The president of the Pacha Committee welcomed the producers and explained the associative model of the committee, which is made up of three associations of producers from the communities of Paccho Molinos, Santa Cruz de Paccho and Chanquil, whose purpose is to produce and market certified and traditional native potato seeds of varieties such as cacho de toro, sangre de toro, qeqorani, peruanita, wiracuchi and sumacc sonco.

This type of activity has been very beneficial and also helps to increase production capacity, strengthen negotiation capacity and establish marketing and commercialization channels. In addition, the production process of certified pre-basic seed (produced in the greenhouse) and the multiplication of the basic seeds of the Peruvianita variety were presented. Furthermore, the producers of Ayacucho learned about the production process of traditional seeds with positive and negative selection methods and observed the storage of traditional seeds in pallets and seeds packed in 50 kg bags ready for marketing.

Finally, they exchanged their native potato seeds, thus preserving agricultural wealth and biodiversity. 

Contest of typical dishes based on iron-enriched local food plants – Paucará 2023

The SD= HS Project promotes the use and consumption of local food plants. Therefore, the project participated in the contest of typical dishes based on little-known food plants consumed by the population of Paucará, in the department of Huancavelica, organized by the District Municipality of the area.

Local food plants are part of the ancestral food diversity and contribute to nutrition and prevention of anaemia due to their nutritional contributions to a balanced and healthy diet.

The event was attended by 05 producers from the rural communities of Jatumpampa and Chanquil, in the department of Huancavelica, and the community of San José de Apata, in the department of Junín, who disseminated the nutritional benefits of 06 recipes based on local food plants with iron properties, in order to share part of the ancestral culinary wealth and revalue native foods. 

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