Strategies to Increase Andean Potato Cultivation and Preservation in Ecuador

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Townsend, Emily
School of environment and sustainability
Andean potato cultivars, a staple crop for diets and agriculture in the Andes, are declining largely due to lack of public interest and consumer demand, posing socio-economic and environmental challenges. Potato is native to the South American Andes, where farmers have, for millennia, selected thousands of cultivars for specific traits. This study aimed to explore and identify potential strategy options to increase the cultivation and preservation of Andean potato cultivars in Ecuador. This qualitative research consisted of semi-structured interviews with Andean farmers in the province of Chimborazo to identify farmers’ key challenges, and a document analysis co-developed with local experts to identify key strategies that target public interest in Andean potato cultivars. Twelve strategy options were preliminarily identified and narrowed down to the six most applicable options, having added socio-economic and environmental benefits, and that could be implemented in Ecuador to incentivize cultivation and preservation Andean potato cultivars.
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