Mercedez Araoz, Vice President of Peru and Chair of Food Forever
It’s not just about doing business: agrobiodiversity is also a powerful instrument to promote innovation and social inclusion.
Climate change, demographic pressure and unregulated economic activity have endangered the biodiversity of our country, one of the 12 most biodiverse in the world. Since 2001, Peru has lost nearly 6.1 million hectares of rainforest and, in just four decades, 50% of its glaciers. The impact of these changes on our ecosystems is still uncertain. But the evidence that they endanger more than twenty animal species, like the Andean bear or the Andean condor, and close to 150 species of wild plants, some symbolic like puya raimondii, is irrefutable.
Ensuring that our biodiversity does not continue to suffer this terrible damage is not only a problem for scientists to solve, but also a matter of state policy. How, for example, does climate change affect the food industry? Peru is a biodiverse and also an agrodiverse country. We have many edible plants and a considerable variety of livestock and fish species. We are also the cradle of the potato, one of the four essential crops for global food security. We have more than 3,500 varieties, many native to the wilderness of our land, with limited or no market access, and immersed in a fragile agricultural model. Other species such as camu camu or tarwi can become the superfoods of the future, due to their taste, nutritional value and sustainable production, just like quinoa a few years ago. Peru’s agrobiodiversity is great and is one of our most precious assets.
Read the full opinion on El Comercio (in Spanish).