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Partnership with Private Initiative Gives Boost to Farmers in Peru

Lays Andinas to use the produce of 6,000 farmers who cultivate a variety of potato that only grows at altitudes of 3,500 meters.

Potatoes ancestrally cultivated exclusively at altitude can now be savored across Peru and neighboring countries, thanks to a commercial deal involving 6,000 farmers from Mancomunidad Yacus (Department of Junin) and the company Frito Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo Alimentos. The new line of potato chips is called Lays Andinas. To launch the product, the company pre-purchased 300 tons of native potatoes that will be grown in the region. According to César Huamán Vila, coordinator of the non-governmental organization Fomento de la Vida (FOVIDA), which serves on the board of the Yacus comprehensive cluster of projects, the deal is an important step to integrate these farmers into the production chain.

“We have managed to forge strategic alliances between the main public and private actors and, in doing so, create a production chain for pigmented potatoes that will allow for the inclusion of a population that faces poverty,” said César Huamán. The entry of these farmers into a broader production chain will prompt a significant increase in the sales of this product, improving quality of life in the communities.

Kellogg Foundation support for the institutional alliance of the Yacus cluster has contributed to the emergence of the program “Institutional Strengthening and Promotion of the Economy for the Development of the Yacus Sub-Basin”, and the supplementary project “Strengthening the Capacities of the Council of Directors, Network of Youth and Farmers to Consolidate the Processes of Development in Mancomunidad Yacus”. The Mancomunidad encompasses 12 districts of the province of Jauja, in the region of Junín, in the central Peruvian Andes.

“The creation of the native potato production chain will make a significant contribution to raising family incomes and improving food security in the communities of Junín, and part of Huancavelica, that face poverty,” said César Huamán. Huancavelica and Junín are areas plagued by high levels of poverty and are characterized by a predominance of peasant communities. Potatoes are the mainstay of the local economy.

The cultivation of native potatoes in this highland region has developed a rich biodiversity in harmony with nature, microclimates and the soil. The product, which has higher solids than other varieties of potato, has been a staple for numerous generations. Not only do they boast a higher nutritional value, and natural antioxidants, they are also very tasty. This is why the pigmented native potato is considered one of the world’s unique products.

“The strategy of the Yacus cluster places an emphasis on the market, recovering the genetic material in harmony with the environment, developing technical skills, promoting business associations and empowering young and adult farmers to achieve inclusion and sustainability,” explained the coordinator of FOVIDA.

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