Women farmers harvesting physalis in Cajamarca, northern Peru.
Photo: Villa Andina


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Not only is biodiversity a valuable asset, but it also represents a possible source of income for rural communities. The article shows how Peru is making use of this potential in the context of the BioTrade concept to sustain both, rural livelihood and conservation of native biodiversity. It further analyses the challenges farmers face and how targeted support for supply chains can help to overcome these challenges.

During the last ten years, the Peruvian economy has experienced a considerable economic growth. Although living conditions for many of the country’s 29 million inhabitants have been improved, income inequalities are still high, and more than 30 per cent of them still live below the poverty line, 60 per cent in rural areas. Especially in the Andean highlands or the Amazon forest, home to a large majority of indigenous communities, 20 per cent of the population are considered extremely poor.

The main source of income for the rural population is agricultural production, which consists of small family farms of less than 1 hectare (ha). Productivity of these farms is low, as their harvest is mainly used for self-consumption and exchange between neighbours and communities. Only a small proportion of the products is traded on local food markets or through intermediaries, mostly with low value commodities.

Making use of the country's biodiversity 

One of Peru’s main assets is its rich biodiversity.

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