Gender in Agriculture Partnership

Transforming agriculture to empower women and deliver food, nutrition and income security

Why Peru's highland needs gender-responsive mitigation policies

A tale of why Peru's mitigation and development policies need to take gender into consideration.

Previous findings show that the highland soil is very carbon-rich, while at the same time scarcely documented (PDF), urging for a better overview of its underground wealth. Given the importance that soil plays as carbon sinks and for the climate, an interdisciplinary research project led by the International Potato Centre (CIP) has carefully assessed the carbon stocks of the central Highlands in Peru.

As the highland carbon plays an important role in the ecosystem, any disturbance to the landscape’s rolling grasslands will have huge implications, for the growth of greenhouse gas emissions due to the subsequent release of carbon.

Because of a number of recent land-use changes in the region the research team decided to not only estimate carbon levels, but also investigate which factors drive soil disturbances, along with the effects of converting natural rangelands into croplands for both men and women.

“The carbon-estimates we are working on will help inform mitigation policies for the Andean region,” says Roberto Quiroz, project activity leader and researcher at the International Potato Center (CIP).

“But as important as the carbon estimates are, we also need to improve our understanding of social and economic aspects that influence land-use change and disturbances to the landscape. A better understanding of the drivers will help strengthen Peru's climate mitigation activities," adds Cecilia Turin, gender researcher within the team.

While investigating drivers and underlying processes of landscape changes, the team became very aware that they had to look particularly at the rushing maca production.

The maca boom in the Peruvian highlands

Maca is a medicinal plant cultivated in the Peruvian Andes, highly appreciated for its energetic benefits and mostly sold on the Asian markets. As buyers from Asia are paying very high prices for the plant, the production has expanded rapidly in the area.

Historically, maca was only produced for consumption on small plots, but now cultivation has expanded to privately owned land and communal land, previously reserved for grazing livestock.

Read the full news on CCAFS.

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