The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Fund and the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Stations have revealed the results of their new program to improve working conditions of quinoa producers in the Peruvian regions of Ayacucho and Puno.
In recent years, quinoa exports have increased exponentially, responding to a larger pool of health-conscious customers. The industry boom, however, has not translated into a better quality of life for producers. The situation is especially difficult for women in rural communities, who account for 31 percent of all agricultural producers and face more hardships than their male counterparts.
The $3.8 million Andean Grains project is a joint collaboration between UN agencies, the government of Peru, the private sector, cooperatives and universities. Created in December 2015, it has fostered agriculture cooperative partnerships, allowed producers to negotiate better market prices, helped create a system for organic production and increased exports. The project has also allowed quinoa producers to benefit from growing international demand for the Andean grain, increased their income, improved food quality and nutrition in the country’s rural communities and grown local producers’ participation in the quinoa value chain.
The program is co-financed by the Government of Spain through its contribution to the SDG Fund, the Government of Peru, UN agencies and the private sector. The program has five main objectives:
- Generate income and employment opportunities through new business models and best practices in the value chain of quinoa
- Train agriculture producers in the management, cooperation and marketing of their products;
- Promote national consumption of quinoa and other Andean grains to improve nutrition in the country;
- Strengthen public-private cooperation; and
- Contribute to the adoption of productive practices in the field of climate change.
At the end of March 2017, the program had already reached 4,200 beneficiaries in the Ayacucho and Puno regions, 46 percent of whom were women. Participants received training and technical assistance to improve the commercial linkage of their grain production and access to financing, as well as activities to improve agricultural and industrial production and the collaborative relationships among all actors in the quinoa value chain. The program has helped strengthen regional cooperative capacities through training courses for 62 facilitators, including public officials, independent consultants and leaders among producers.
Additionally, as a result of the program, associations of microcredits managed by female farmers have cropped up across the region. Female farmers have accumulated capital of up to 16,000 soles (approximately US $4,800), which they can use to buy natural fertilizers, new supplies and animals for the farms.