May 19, 2017
Government of Peru and UN improve working conditions of quinoa producers through SDG Fund program
The Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund) yesterday presented the results of "Andean Grains," which has benefited more than 4,200 quinoa producers,
The $3.8 million project is a joint collaboration between UN agencies, the government of Peru, the private sector, cooperatives, and universities. Created in December 2015, the project has fostered agriculture cooperative partnerships, allowed producers to negotiate better market prices, helped create systems for production of organic quinoa, and increased exports. The project has helped quinoa producers benefit from growing international demand for this Andean grain, increased their income, improved food quality and nutrition in Peru’s rural communities, and grown local producers’ participation in the quinoa value chain.
The project was convened by the SDG Fund, a multi-donor and multi-agency mechanism created by the UN in 2014 to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) The Fund is already working in 22 countries and benefiting 3.5 million people. Its main objective is to bring together UN agencies, governments, academia, civil society and business to address the challenges of poverty, promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve SDGs.
Quinoa: an opportunity to reduce poverty
Exports of quinoa and other Andean grains found in Peru have increased exponentially in recent years. However, this has not translated into better quality of life for the producers. The situation is especially difficult for women in rural communities, who account for 69% of all agricultural producers, but face more hardships than male agricultural producers.
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. "Andean Grains" 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.
As of March 31, 2017, the program has reached 4,200 beneficiaries in the Ayacucho (37%) and Puno (63%) regions, of whom 46% were women. The 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 strengthened regional cooperative capacities through training courses for 62 facilitators, including public officials, independent consultants and leaders among producers.
"Andean Grains" has improved the livelihoods in Puno and Ayacucho regions. A good example are the “Unicas” (Unions of Credit and Savings)—associations of microcredits managed by "mamachas," as humble female farmers are commonly called. With the program’s help, the mamachas have accumulated capital of up to 16,000 soles (about US $4,800), and used it to buy natural fertilizers to protect their crops, new supplies, animals for the farms.
Other examples are the products from the cooperative Campo Verde, used by the prestigious Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio to prepare the 'quinoa airport' dish in his restaurant, or the organic quinoa and kiwicha energy bars, developed after the program's capacity training activities.
John Gastelú Luján, a 24-year-old archeology student and a representative of the cooperative, said: "I never thought I would be here. I want the hope of the members of the cooperative to become a reality."
"Granos Andinos" is co-financed by the SDG Fund, and implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and UNESCO, together with its national partners in Peru: Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Development and Social Integration, local governments and the National Association of Export Producers.