Impacts of climate change take a toll on Andean potato farmers: participative mapping for the evaluation of potato diversity in the Andes
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Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/36152
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Context: Newer farming practices that favour monoculture are dependent on the use of pesticides and chemicals to stave off plagues. Along with human health risks associated with the use of these products, bacteria, virus and pests develop resistance to chemicals and pesticides over time. Also new strains develop periodically. These risks underscore the importance of conserving a diverse pool of potato varieties that may hold natural resistances in their genes. This project is interested in understanding potato biodiversity and what the dynamics of diversity are in higher elevations. More than 10 years of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping reveals that farmers have ascended the Andes 150 meters during the past 30 years to escape agricultural diseases and pests due to increasing temperatures. Interface: Researchers and farmers work together via participatory mapping (80- 90% participate). High-resolution satellite images enable farmers to identify their plots. Local knowledge on what is happening in terms of impacts, crop diversity and vulnerabilities (i.e. degradation, pest outbreaks, climate change, etc.) is being catalogued and cross-referenced with maps on a plot-by-plot basis. This includes coidentifying most vulnerable sites on maps (to degradation, pest outbreaks, climate change, etc.). The elderly and women are interviewed for local knowledge. Learning: Researchers are learning about varieties of potato never documented as well as traditional food security practices at altitude, where high variability requires diversity of varieties to ensure some level of food security. Even commercial farmers have plots devoted to traditional multispecies varieties in order to ensure food security and survival. Elders and women asked for their knowledge; elders know of varieties that have been lost and women are very knowledgeable of the varieties and diversity. Channel: Learning is happening community by community. Farmers hear of the project and are interested in the project and invite the researchers to come to their community (more than 20 communities in the last five years). Outcome: This means that a diverse “in situ” genebank is widely available in the Peruvian highlands for scientists to research gene resistance and to broaden the range of diversity from which to address adaptive strategies to climate impacts on agriculture. Farmers are being empowered, given maps, soon to be followed by computers, and encouraged to observe and document changes, including pest, soil and climate variability. The project has built trust among researchers and communities, which, it is hoped, will continue and will be funding dependent.
Describes experience of: CIP with Participatory mapping