International prize for the SDC’s Papa Andina project

Article, 20.12.2012

Improving market access for small Andean farmers and making more out of the biodiversity of their crops – that is the basic challenge underlying the Papa Andina regional project, launched in 1998 by the SDC and the International Potato Center (CIP). This innovative and sustainable solution won a prize announced on the occasion of the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development held in 2012 in Uruguay.

The Andean potatoes have made their way onto the shop shelves of the biggest cities in Latin America. (

The potatoes grown by the rural communities of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador on the high Andean plateaus at altitudes higher than 3,500 metres display an extremely rich biodiversity, which the Papa Andina initiative has made it possible to exploit. The project has resulted in the development of a line of original, high-quality products, enabling small-scale farmers to become players on the national or regional markets.

Combining traditional resources with advanced research
Today, around 30 traditional varieties of potato are sold in Lima, La Paz or Quito – wrapped up in «gourmet» packages, in the form of crisps, coloured purées or even freeze-dried soups. These products, which result from the work done by more than 2,500 farming families living in remote areas, are enjoying increasing success. Between 2000 and 2010, the volume of native Peruvian potatoes sold increased by 73% (from 167,000 to 289,000 tonnes) – at the same time prices went up by 55%.

The prize launched by Fontagro is awarded to innovative initiatives in farming. Papa Andina received its award in the category of “International and multilateral bodies”. ( © Fontagro/CIP)

The Papa Andina initiative is continuing today with the support of CIP in cooperation with local NGOs, the private sector and public institutions. The Fontagro prize, which was announced in Uruguay in November 2012 on the occasion of the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, is being awarded in recognition of this success.

The prize is supported by the «Fondo Regional de Tecnología Agropecuaria» (Fontagro), the “Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura” (IICA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is to be handed over at an official ceremony in Washington DC at the IDB headquarters in May 2013. A publication dedicated to the award-winning projects, including «Innovations to make the most out of the biodiversity of potatoes, the case of Papa Andina/INCOPA in Peru», is to be presented on that occasion.