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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Aberdeen, Idaho » Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386521

Research Project: Potato Genetic Improvement for Enhanced Tuber Quality and Greater Productivity and Sustainability in Western U.S. Production

Location: Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research

Title: Dynamic guardianship of potato landraces by Andean communities and the genebank of the International Potato Center

item LUTTRINGHAUS, SOPHIA - Humboldt University
item PRADEL, WILLY - International Potato Center
item SUAREZ, VICTOR - International Potato Center
item MANRIQUE-CARPINTERO, NORMA - International Potato Center
item Anglin, Noelle
item ELLIS, DAVE - International Potato Center
item HAREAU, GUY - International Potato Center
item JAMORA, NELISSA - Global Crop Diversity Trust
item SMALE, MELINDA - Michigan State University
item GOMEZ, RENE - International Potato Center

Submitted to: CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (CABI A&B)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2021
Publication Date: 11/27/2021
Citation: Luttringhaus, S., Pradel, W., Suarez, V., Manrique-Carpintero, N., Anglin, N.L., Ellis, D., Hareau, G., Jamora, N., Smale, M., Gomez, R. 2021. Dynamic guardianship of potato landraces by Andean communities and the genebank of the International Potato Center. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (CABI A&B). 2. Article 45.

Interpretive Summary: Potato landraces are highly prized among small holder farmers in Peru. They are culturally and economically important and impart critical nutritional needs for families living in the highlands. Potato landraces have been returned from the genebank back to small holder farmers and their communities for the last 20 plus years via a genebank program known as repatriation. Between 1997 - 2020, 14,950 samples were distributed to 135 communities in Peru most of which were centered in the Southern part of Peru. The impact of this program has never been officially evaluated in all of its years of operation. Therefore, this work aimed to document the history and purpose of the repatriation program and its dynamic exchange between in situ and ex situ conservation that has been occurring since 1997. Further, survey data taken from the communities and farmers in Peru that had received repatriated potatoes over the entire history of the repatriation program was analyzed to determine how long the farmers held on to the repatriated landraces and what was their perceived benefit from receiving the repatriated potatoes. The survey data was analyzed to determine how long do farmers typically hold on and conserve the potato landraces that were provided to them. Differences in the longevity of repatriated potatoes continued to be farmed in the Andes or abandoned by the farmers were found based among age groups, education, and by sex. This work demonstrates the value of returning native landraces back to small holder farmers, the perceived benefits of receiving repatriated potatoes from the farmers, and the impact of the repatriation program.

Technical Abstract: Background: Potato landraces (Solanum spp.) are not only crucial for food security and sustenance in Andean communities but are also deeply rooted in the local culture. The crop originated in the Andes, and while a great diversity of potato persists, some landraces have been lost. Local communities and the genebank of the International Potato Center (CIP) partnered to re-establish some of these landraces in situ by supplying clean seed potatoes to farmers. Over time, the genebank formalized a repatriation program of potato landraces. Repatriation is the process of returning native germplasm back to its place of origin, allowing a dynamic exchange between ex situ and in situ conditions. So far, no comprehensive description of CIP’s repatriation program, the changes it induced, nor its benefits, has been carried out. Methods: We addressed this research gap by analyzing CIP genebank distribution data for repatriated accessions, conducting structured interviews with experts of the repatriation program, and applying duration and benefit analyses to a survey dataset of 301 households. Results: Between 1997 and 2020, 14,950 samples, representing 1519 accessions, were distributed to 135 communities in Peru. While most households (56%) abandoned the repatriated material by the fourth year after receiving it, the in situ survival probability of the remaining material stabilized between 36% in year 5 and 18% in year 15. Households where the plot manager was over 60 years old were more likely to grow the repatriated landraces for longer periods of times. While male plot management decreased survival times compared to female plot management, higher levels of education, labor force, wealth, food insecurity, and geographic location in the southern part of Peru were associated with greater survival times. Most farmers reported nutritional and cultural benefits as reasons for maintaining landrace material. Repatriated potatoes enabled farmers to conserve potato diversity, and hence, re-establish and broaden culinary diversity and traditions. Conclusions: Our study is the first to apply an economic model to analyze the duration of in situ landrace cultivation by custodian farmers. We provide an evidence base that describes the vast scope of the program and its benefits. Keywords: Peru, Potato landraces, Repatriation program, International Potato Center (CIP), Genebank, Food security, Household survey, Duration analysis, Survival, Benefits.