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Arce A.,University of Antioquia | Creed-Kanashiro H.,Institute Investigacion Nutricional | Scurrah M.,Grupo Yanapai | Ccanto R.,Grupo Yanapai | And 3 more authors.
Agriculture and Food Security | Year: 2016

Background: Child undernutrition is persistently high in the central Andes of Peru, and numerous smallholder households fail to meet their basic needs of energy, iron and zinc. Food-based approaches assume household-level nutrition can be improved following agricultural interventions. This study assesses for the first time whether current Andean production systems provide sufficient energy, iron and zinc output to meet household-level requirements and explores the likely effect of commonly promoted food-based approaches. Across four communities, we determined the crop and livestock production output for each household (n = 165) during one growing season. The household-level nutritional demand or input was calculated as a function of household composition and daily requirements of energy, iron and zinc as established by FAO/WHO. We examined five scenarios, current practice or status quo and four food-based interventions: (1) increased potato yield, (2) introduced biofortified potatoes, (3) promotion of guinea pigs and (4) a mixed strategy combining all of the above. Results: Under status quo, 86, 62 and 76 % of households obtained sufficient production output to meet energy, iron and zinc requirements, respectively. Considering the three parameters simultaneously, 59 % of households were able to meet their energy, iron and zinc requirements. The total crop production among households provided more than the necessary energy, iron and zinc output to meet the demand of all 165 households. Yet, significant differences between households account for individual deficits or surpluses in household-level output-input balances. Potato (Solanum spp.), barley (Hordeum vulgare) and faba (Vicia faba) production was particularly significant in determining the energy, iron and zinc output. Livestock did not make a substantial contribution. The main difference between households with negative versus positive coverage, in terms of household-level production output from agriculture meeting demand (=input), was available cropping area given household size. None of the explored food-based interventions closed the energy, iron and zinc deficit from production among households with negative coverage. Conclusions: The smallholder production systems analyzed are only partially capable of providing sufficient production output to cover household-level energy, iron and zinc demands. Of the four interventions examined, a mixed strategy holds most potential for reducing nutrition gaps. Particularly potato yield increases had a positive effect. The carrying capacity of high-altitude Andean farming systems is strained for households with limited land. Food-based approaches to nutrition under scenarios similar to those reported in this study are advised to balance agricultural interventions with options to enhance off-farm access to food. © 2016 The Author(s).

Parsa S.,Aereo | Parsa S.,University of California at Davis | Ccanto R.,Grupo Yanapai | Rosenheim J.A.,University of California at Davis
Ecological Applications | Year: 2011

Modern restructuring of agricultural landscapes, due to the expansion of monocultures and the resulting elimination of non-crop habitat, is routinely blamed for rising populations of agricultural insect pests. However, landscape studies demonstrating a positive correlation between pest densities and the spatial extent of crop monocultures are rare. We test this hypothesis with a data set from 140 subsistence farms in the Andes and find the inverse correlation. Infestations by the Andean potato weevil (Premnotrypes spp.), the most important pest in Andean potato agriculture, decrease with increasing amounts of potato in the landscape. A statistical model predicts that aggregating potato fields may outperform the management of Andean potato weevils by IPM and chemical control. We speculate that the strong pest suppression generated by aggregating potato fields may partly explain why indigenous potato farmers cluster their potato fields under a traditional rotation system common in Andean agriculture (i.e., "sectoral fallow"). Our results suggest that some agricultural pests may also respond negatively to the expansion of monocultures, and that manipulating the spatial arrangement of host crops may offer an important tool for some IPM programs. © 2011 by the Ecological Society of America.

Parsa S.,Ciat Centro Internacional Of Agricultura Tropical | Parsa S.,University of California at Davis | Ccanto R.,Grupo Yanapai | Olivera E.,Grupo Yanapai | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Pest impact on an agricultural field is jointly influenced by local and landscape features. Rarely, however, are these features studied together. The present study applies a "facilitated ecoinformatics" approach to jointly screen many local and landscape features of suspected importance to Andean potato weevils (Premnotrypes spp.), the most serious pests of potatoes in the high Andes. Methodology/Principal Findings: We generated a comprehensive list of predictors of weevil damage, including both local and landscape features deemed important by farmers and researchers. To test their importance, we assembled an observational dataset measuring these features across 138 randomly-selected potato fields in Huancavelica, Peru. Data for local features were generated primarily by participating farmers who were trained to maintain records of their management operations. An information theoretic approach to modeling the data resulted in 131,071 models, the best of which explained 40.2-46.4% of the observed variance in infestations. The best model considering both local and landscape features strongly outperformed the best models considering them in isolation. Multi-model inferences confirmed many, but not all of the expected patterns, and suggested gaps in local knowledge for Andean potato weevils. The most important predictors were the field's perimeter-to-area ratio, the number of nearby potato storage units, the amount of potatoes planted in close proximity to the field, and the number of insecticide treatments made early in the season. Conclusions/Significance: Results underscored the need to refine the timing of insecticide applications and to explore adjustments in potato hilling as potential control tactics for Andean weevils. We believe our study illustrates the potential of ecoinformatics research to help streamline IPM learning in agricultural learning collaboratives. © 2012 Parsa et al.

PubMed | Wageningen University, Pennsylvania State University, Grupo Yanapai and Colorado State University
Type: | Journal: Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America | Year: 2017

Land use change and intensification in agricultural landscapes of the Andean highlands have resulted in widespread soil degradation and a loss in soil-based ecosystem services and biodiversity. This trend threatens the sustainability of farming communities in the Andes, with important implications for food security and biodiversity conservation throughout the region. Based on these challenges we sought to understand the impact of current and future land use practices on soil fertility and biodiversity, so as to inform landscape planning and management decisions for sustainable agroecosystem management. We worked with local communities to identify and map dominant land uses in an agricultural landscape surrounding Quilcas, Peru. These land uses existed within two elevations zones (low-medium, 3200-3800 m and high elevation, 3800-4300 m). They included three types of low-medium elevation forests (Eucalyptus, Alder and mixed/native species), five pasture management types (permanent pasture, temporal pasture (in fallow stage), degraded pasture, high-altitude permanent pasture and high-altitude temporal pasture (in fallow stage)) and six cropping systems (forage crops, maize/beans, and potato under four types of management). Soil fertility was evaluated in surface soils (0-20 cm) with soil physicochemical parameters (e.g., pH, soil organic matter, available nutrients, texture), while soil biological properties were assessed using the abundance and diversity of soil macrofauna and ground cover vegetation. Our results indicated clear impacts of land use on soil fertility and biological communities. Altitude demonstrated the strongest effect on soil physicochemical properties, but management systems within the low-mid elevation zone also showed important differences in soil biological communities. In general, the less-disturbed forest and pasture systems supported more diverse soil communities than the more intensively managed croplands. Degraded soils demonstrated the lowest overall soil fertility and abundance of soil macrofauna, but this may be reversible via the planting of Alder forests. Our findings also indicated significant covariation between soil physicochemical parameters, soil macrofauna and ground vegetation. This suggests that management for any one of these soil properties may yield unintended cascading effects throughout the soil subsystem. In summary, our findings suggest that shifts in land use across the landscape are likely to have important impacts on soil functioning and biodiversity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

De Haan S.,International Potato Center | Burgos G.,International Potato Center | Ccanto R.,Grupo Yanapai | Arcos J.,Instituto Nacional Of Innovacion Agraria Inia | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture | Year: 2012

Background: Variables and interaction effects affecting the mineral concentration of Andean bitter potatoes converted into so-called white chuño are unknown. We report on the effect of three contrasting production environments (E) on the dry matter (DM), zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium concentration of four potato native bitter genotypes (G) processed (P) into two different 'types' of white chuño. Results: The DM content and iron, calcium, magnesium and sodium concentration of white chuño are significantly dependent on E, G, P, and E × G × P interaction (predominantly at P < 0.01). In particular, the DM content and calcium concentration are influenced by all variables and possible interaction effects. The zinc and potassium concentration are not significantly dependent on E × G, G × P or E × G × P interaction effects, while the phosphorus concentration is not significantly affected by the G × P or E × G × P interaction effect. Zinc, phosphorus and magnesium concentrations decrease in the ranges of 48.3-81.5%, 61.2-73.0% and 62.0-89.7% respectively. The decrease in potassium is particularly severe, with 122- to 330-fold losses. Iron and calcium increase by 11.2-45.6% and 74.5-714.9% respectively. Conclusion: E, G, P, and various interaction effects influence the mineral concentration of traditionally processed tubers. We speculate that mineral losses are caused by leaching, while increases of iron and calcium are a likely result of absorption. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

de Haan S.,International Potato Center | Burgos G.,International Potato Center | Arcos J.,Instituto Nacional Of Innovacion Agraria Inia | Ccanto R.,Grupo Yanapai | And 3 more authors.
Economic Botany | Year: 2010

Traditional Processing of Black and White Chuño in the Peruvian Andes: Regional Variants and Effect on the Mineral Content of Native Potato Cultivars. Farmers in the high Andes of central to southern Peru and Bolivia typically freeze-dry potatoes to obtain chuño. Processing of so-called black chuño follows tending, treading, freezing, and drying. The making of white chuño is generally more complex and involves exposure of tubers to water. Regional variants exist for each of these processes, yet their influence on the nutritional composition of native potato cultivars is little known. Tubers belonging to four distinct cultivars and produced in a replicated trial under uniform conditions were processed into four types of chuño following standard traditional procedures (farmer-managed). These regional variants were documented, and the dry matter, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium content of the four resulting different types of boiled chuño determined at the International Potato Center's Quality and Nutrition Laboratory (Lima, Peru). Content values were compared with those of boiled (unprocessed) tubers from the same experiment. Regional variants of processing are to a large extent determined by tradition, environmental condition, and market demand. The zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium content of all types of chuño decreases in comparison with unprocessed tubers. Concentrations of these same minerals decrease more drastically for white as compared to black chuño. The effect of the four regional variants of freeze-drying on the dry matter, iron, calcium, and sodium content of chuño differs by process and/or cultivar. © 2010 The New York Botanical Garden.

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