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Msc thesis subject: Mapping and linking quinoa-based farming systems to landscape in the Peruvian Altiplano

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) was domesticated more than 7000 years ago in the Andes and today farmers including indigenous Quechua and Aymara communities are continuing cultivating this crop in the same areas with low input and organic practices. Thanks to the wide genetic diversity, quinoa has led its adaptation to different environmental condition. The last 40 years have seen a great expansion of quinoa crop production and experimentation all around the world (Bazile et al. 2016) not only for its adaptability but also for its nutritional values. In the region of Puno, in Peru, smallholder farmers are preserving the highest quinoa diversity hotspot in the world. This landscape is recognized from the United Nations Organization as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) valorizing the ancestral systems of cultivation known as Aynokas.

Aynokas allows smallholder farmers to produce quinoa and related neglected crops, reach food security, export and develop facilities in the local communities. Cultivating quinoa and NC diversity in situ can ensure the adaptation capacity of the plants and maintain cultural identity. Farmers in the region of Puno connect their cultural identity to quinoa and maintain quinoa genetic diversity through their knowledge and practices. The role of quinoa producers within the mosaic landscape in Peruvian Andes are the reflection of local biophysical conditions, as well as cultural and socio-economic conditions that can evolve towards or away from a sustainable future.

The MSc projects start in August 2019; fieldwork in Puno Peru will be from 20th October till 20th of December 2019. The project included the fieldwork will be done together with the supervision of Federico Andreotti, PhD candidate at GRS.

Objectives

  • Literature review: Develop a methodology for linking farming systems analysis (i.e. SAFA, participatory or statistical Farm Typology) to Landscape or Foodscape (i.e. GIS, participatory mapping) according to the background of the student.
  • Fieldwork: Mapping and documenting farmers’ practices and knowledge concerning spatial distribution, abiotic stress tolerance, diseases and ecological interaction, ecosystem services and cultural identity of quinoa and related neglected crops production together with bio-physical and socio-economic conditions of the landscape.
  • Data Analysis: Link multivariate statistical analysis of Farming System with spatial analysis of the Landscape

Literature

  • Carmona, A., L. Nahuelhual, C. Echeverría, and A. Báez. 2010. Linking farming systems to landscape change: An empirical and spatially explicit study in southern Chile. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 139:40–50.
  • Ruiz K.B., Biondi S., Oses R., Acuña-Rodríguez I.S., Antognoni F., Martinez-Mosqueira E.A., Coulibaly A., Canahua-Murillo A., Pinto M., Zurita A., Bazile D., Jacobsen S.E., Molina Montenegro M. 2014. Quinoa biodiversity and sustainability for food security under climate change. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 34 (2): p. 349-359.
  • Tittonell, P., Muriuki, A., Shepherd, K., Mugendi, D., Kaizzi, K., Okeyo, J., Verchot, L., Coe, R., Vanlauwe, B., 2010. The diversity of rural livelihoods and their influence on soil fertility in agricultural systems of East Africa – A typology of smallholder farms. Agricultural Systems 103, 83–97.
  • Witteveen, L., and R. Lie. 2009. Embedded filming for social change. International Journal of Educational Development 29:80–90.

Requirements

  • MSc student fluent in Spanish
  • As the MSc Thesis project is multidisciplinary we are looking for a student with no specific background, but with the willing to develop his or her own approach of the study.

Theme(s): Human – space interaction, Empowering & engaging communities