17 March, 2017

Potato and quinoa crops in danger of plague infestation after heavy rains

Native products proved to be the most resistant to extreme climate conditions and disease.

Foto: Anice Rimari/CHIRAPAQ

The food supply of more than 500 families in the districts of Sahurama and Huambalpa is at risk due to the appearance of fungi and aphids that have affected an extensive number of hectares of potato and quinoa.

Farmers in the area said that the white potato variety, which they grow because of their high demand in the market, has been the most affected. It is estimated that the losses will cause the increase of the prices of this product in the markets of the Ayacucho region.

Large-scale investment in a single crop is not a viable alternative for the small farmer“, said Anice Rimari, member of CHIRAPAQ Center for Indigenous Cultures of Peru. CHIRAPAQ has been working for 20 years with the families of this area revaluing the indigenous agricultural techniques, as well as the recovery of a wide diversity of native crops.

By the end of last year, Ayacucho was declared in emergency due to the water crisis that affected 18 regions of Peru. Faced with this frightening scenario, more than 200 small producers of Saurama and Huambalpa decided to bet on growing native potatoes with the support of CHIRAPAQ and Bread for the World.

Today, in the face of the climate crisis in Peru, these producers have seen that the 300 varieties of native potatoes planted have resisted excessive rains and diseases caused by increased humidity.

For Maurino Gutiérrez from the community of Raymina to have seeded native potatoes has ensured that his wife and children have a nutritious product for the next six months. “We sowed several crops. Thus the climate affects one of them, the other is saved. Planting several crops ensures our food supply. ”

Gutiérrez and the other farmers of Raymina control the presence of fungi and aphids with biocides prepared with inputs such as kion, rocoto, cactus leaves and lime, among others. These natural fungicides preserve the fertility of soils, are not toxic to humans, as well as being inexpensive.

“The extension of the scope of agricultural insurance and the creation of adaptation and mitigation programs in the face of climate change are indispensable for the survival not only of Ayacucho families, but also of agriculture in Peru,” concluded Rimari.