- To promote resilience to the effects of climate change, a multi-stakeholder group including representatives from Peru’s government, international organizations, corporate leaders and the scientific community gathered for the Food Forever Experience: Cusco.
- Participants, including Peruvian President, Martín Vizcarra, signed Food Forever’s Declaration of Interdependence, to signify their support for greater conservation and use of crop diversity, an important resource in battling malnutrition and driving sustainable development.
- The three-day event was hosted by the Food Forever Initiative. Food Forever rallies a range of stakeholders – politicians, farmers, chefs and business representatives—to lend their voices to help drive positive changes in the way we conserve, grow, sell and consume crop and livestock diversity, including the potato, an important crop for Peru and the world.
The President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra, confirmed his commitment to supporting agrobiodiversity conservation by signing the Food Forever Declaration of Interdependence during a three-day summit in Cusco, Peru recently.
He was joined by Vice President of Peru, Mercedes Aráoz, and around 50 high-profile corporate executives, researchers, and representatives from the gastronomic, business and institutional communities from Peru and abroad, who also signed the Declaration.
The Food Forever Experience: Cusco aimed to raise awareness and display the richness of Peru’s agricultural diversity, and its potential in combatting food insecurity and malnutrition in the midst of climate change and a growing world population. It was hosted by the Food Forever Initiative in close partnership with the Crop Trust, the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Inkaterra hotel chain. Guests included representatives from the Peruvian Ministry for Development and Social Inclusion, the Chinese Academy for Agricultural Science, the Inter-American Development Bank, the National Geographic Society, AJE, Wong, PepsiCo, and the National Fisheries Society.
During the event, participants discussed the main challenges facing global agriculture and food security. In particular, talks centred on how climate challenges such as rising temperatures, have led to an increase in crop pests and diseases, and more frequent droughts, putting global food production at risk.
Conserving and using crop diversity was presented as a concrete solution in responding to these and other challenges. The nutritional power of these crops, their contribution to resilient food systems, and the work to protect and maintain them were all part of the discussion.
The sessions also highlighted the role that agrobiodiversity and Andean crop production play in empowering farmers, improving their livelihoods, ensuring food and nutritional security and stimulating business innovation.
On the final day, some of the participants, including Vice President Aráoz, visited the Potato Park in Pisac, where six communities safeguard and nurture over 1,000 varieties of potato – one of the world’s most emblematic tubers. They met representatives from the Paru Paru and Pampallacta communities, learning about the native potatoes they conserve at the Park. They also attended the opening of a new wild potato reserve at the Park, one of the first in situ conservation sites for potato wild relatives in the world.
“It was a fabulous occasion where people from so many walks of life gathered to learn more about the history and the future of the potato and the great work being done at the Potato Park,” said Alejandro Argumedo, Program Director at the ANDES Association, and representative and for the six communities which make up the Potato Park.
“The communities in the Park were delighted to host such distinguished guests and to celebrate the opening of the wild potato reserve with them.
“Since 2002, the Potato Park has grown and helped conserve valuable potato diversity, and now they are starting to do the same for the wild relatives of potato too. We currently have four of these species, which are very important for adapting cultivated potatoes to climate change. We know that these are the first steps on an important path of discovery into the future. The wild relatives of our domesticated potatoes represent the best source for addressing the challenges of a changing Andean climate,” he concluded.
Marie Haga, the Crop Trust’s Executive Director and Food Forever Champion, congratulated the communities for their outstanding work at the Potato Park.
“For years, I’ve admired the work of the Potato Park to help conserve Peru’s incredible potato diversity. Now, we are even more inspired by their work to preserve the crops wild relatives. There’s no doubt that these species can help us respond to the affects of climate change. The Potato Park is an example of how we can live in peace and harmony with nature; and the work here should serve as an example to replicate with other crops in other parts of the world.”
Finally, Barbara Wells, Director General at the International Potato Center, added: “Peru is not only the world’s center of potato biodiversity, but its local production feeds the whole country and provides work for many Peruvians. That’s why it is our mission at CIP to promote its conservation, and to catalyse the sustainable consumption of its thousands of varieties, through the creation of business opportunities for farmers; along with developing new varieties for the future. This meeting has been the first major step, together with government and the private sector, toward starting to develop the action plan that will guarantee the sustainability of our flagship tuber.”
Check out the event at: http://bit.ly/ExperienciaFoodForever
For more on the signing of the declaration: https://youtu.be/5xpymep-eAQ
About Food Forever
Food Forever is a global campaign to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of safeguarding the diversity of crops, and domesticated animal species, to guarantee food and nutrition security, and address climate change. The campaign is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda, pertaining particularly to goal 2.5, which states that the task of conserving and promoting the sustainable use of and equitable access to agrobiodiversity should be realised by 2020. Given the sense of urgency, Food Forever seeks to bring together all the different actors, whether they be politicians, farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs or activists, in a unique concentrated effort to ensure the availability of our food supply forever.
The International Potato Center (CIP) was founded in 1971 as a research-for-development organization with a focus on potato, sweetpotato and Andean roots and tubers. It delivers innovative science-based solutions to enhance access to affordable, nutritious food, foster inclusive, sustainable business and employment growth, and drive the climate resilience of root and tuber agri-food systems. Headquartered in Lima, Peru, CIP has a research presence in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
CIP is a CGIAR research center, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR centers in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations, and the private sector.
About the Crop Trust
The Global Crop Diversity Trust (Crop Trust for short) is an international organization, the mission of which is to support crop conservation in genebanks for the future. With the returns generated by its endowment fund, the Crop Trust provides financial support for key international, regional and national genebank collections, as well as the main back up of crop seeds, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (in the Arctic). The Crop Trust’s patron is HRH the Prince of Wales.
For more information contact:
Cierra Martin, Crop Trust and Food Forever Communications • Cierra.email@example.com • Tel: +49 0 171 1165036
Maria Elena Lanatta CIP Communications • firstname.lastname@example.org www.cipotato.org • Tel: 51 1 349 6017 ext. 3010 •+51 981 187 198