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Gender and Agricultural Innovation in Peasant Production of Native Potatoes in the Central Andes of Peru

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Title: Gender and Agricultural Innovation in Peasant Production of Native Potatoes in the Central Andes of Peru
Author: Sarapura, Silvia L.
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Studies
Advisor: Mahone, James
Abstract: Native potatoes are an important element of food security both as a direct food source and as a cash crop for peasant producers in the Andes of Peru. Production is basically for self-consumption and the shift to commercialization is a challenge. As a response, the Papa Andina Initiative (COGEPAN) was initiated to promote market innovation and pro-vide relative advantage to producers to respond to emerging markets. Research is limited on the integration, information and communication in relation to social relations. Old and new nonreciprocal relations and roles among stakeholders, consequences of customary practices, undermine the ability of female peasant producers. Any process requires an un-derstanding of culture, traditions and the gendered practices of agricultural production. As the research was premised on a feminist perspective, a sequential explanatory and mixed design was utilized for obtaining background and contextual data in a way that coupled collecting sex-disaggregated data with iterative planning activities readjusting the research to sharpen its focus on women. The situation of Andean peasant women within modern-day agricultural innovation systems is influenced by traditions and cus-tomary laws embedded in the specific lifeworlds of peasant communities. In COGEPAN, gender relations and roles are changing from the macro to the individual levels. Each change opens up new opportunities to shape innovation and benefit women. The partici-patory nature of market chains unfolds spaces for women to reveal leadership abilities. Gender relations and innovation have shifted in their own areas of interest or spheres. However, other gender issues are still embedded in peasant farming systems and the na-tive market chain. Results allow the researcher to recommend further policy analysis. The full range of women’s and men’s activities, resources, and benefits has to be reflected in the assessment of the innovation system and continuing activities. Gendered socio-economic factors affecting the adoption of proposed technological or institutional innova-tions need to be considered. Structural obstacles have to be addressed by implementing policies that facilitate peasant women’s advancement. The design and implementation of policy and legislation have to acknowledge that communities are not homogeneous and mechanisms have to be context-specific to achieve equitable representation of women and men.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/6661
Date: 2013-03


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