Indigenous Smallholder Struggles in Peru: Transforming Nutrition Security, Agrobiodiversity, and Food Sovereignty amid Transforming Global Changes (2016-2021)

Authors: Karl Zimmerer*, Pennsylvania State University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Mountain Environments, Food Systems
Keywords: Transformation, Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Coupled Human-Natural Systems, Mountains, Biodiversity
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Nutrition, food systems, and the biodiversity of food and agriculture (agrobiodiversity) are rapidly changing among indigenous smallholders in the Andean countries, across Latin America, and globally. Urgent calls for food sovereignty recognize global transformations of nutrition, food systems, agriculture, and climate change amid geographically uneven development. This paper develops the concept of transformation in the approaches of social-ecological systems (SES) and political ecology (PE), referring to analysis of changing societal relations to nature and to interconnected normative and political-strategic dimensions, respectively. Our research collaborates with a praxis-oriented institution in Peru in conducting mixed-method research on landscape and livelihood transformations related to nutrition, food, and biodiversity. We use a relational framework of emergent agrobiodiversity interactions with a model of coupling/de-coupling in production-consumption linkages. Conceptual insights and empirical results demonstrate spatially uneven though widespread food and nutritional insecurity, moderate agrobiodiversity, and innovative agrobiodiverse maize fields and home gardens. Part-time farming and predominant purchased food are dual pillars amid precarious livelihoods and land use that condition food sovereignty prospects. Cultural affect strongly influences emergent agrobiodiversity utilized in food consumption through relations of gender and intersectional social factors. Global transformations fuel the substantial albeit partial decline of agrobiodiversity. Emergent agrobiodiversity in food-growing spaces can enhance nutritional security and food sovereignty, lessen vulnerability, and strengthen agroecological adaptive capacity and resilience.

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