Parque de la Papa
Parque de la Papa is seeing an increase in tourist activity due to their ongoing partnership with Planeterra. This increase allows the park to invest in more opportunities. Planeterra has also funded a micro-enterprise (in 2014) owned by a group of 16 women who make medicinal teas by hand, from one of the six communities. The women sell their teas at one of our other projects, the Parwa Community Restaurant. Today the Peruvian government nominated Parque de la Papa as an Agrobiodiversity zone which recognizes and supports their conservation work.
The Parque de la Papa is an organization of five communities located in the highlands of the Sacred Valley in Cuzco, Perú. More than 7,000 Indigenous community members currently work together to preserve the area with hundreds of varieties of native potato (around 1,300) as well as the knowledge and ancient teaching related to the cultivation and management of their agricultural landscape – a cornerstone of life in the area. Though resources are limited, their lands are considered a centre of potato origin and diversity. Currently, the potato is one of the four most important crops on earth, produced and preserved throughout the centuries by them.
Economic opportunities that enable Indigenous people to remain living in the communities in which they have traditionally lived for generations are desperately needed. That’s why Parque de la Papa was created in 2006 with the support of many international organizations. They have launched agro-tourism programs and developed community micro-enterprises related to tourism services and activities with the purpose of creating economic opportunities. However, the community enterprises were in need of customers to reach their full potential and achieve financial success. The community enterprises had significant barriers accessing the international market, and when they did gain access, they risked losing their unique traditions and cultures. Women continue to face barriers accessing the formal job market, and youth continue to have limited access to jobs and education, and so often migrate to the big cities.
Planeterra and our local partner “Asociación ANDES” supported Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) through training and customizing the organization’s experience for travellers. Travellers from Planeterra’s tourism partners visit the park to learn about life in a rural agricultural Andean community and their seed conservation program, which is conserving indigenous potatoes alongside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. Visitors also learn about the traditional planting and harvesting process, as well as Indigenous weaving practices. Planeterra also provided funds to improve the facilities at the visitor center in Pampallaqta community which was a much-needed boost for their tourism economy.