Peruvian Purple Potato and "Potatisplockning" by Carl Larsson
According to the January 21, 2005 issue of Bridges TradeBioRes, six indigenous communities from Peru reached "a ground breaking agreement" with the Lima-based International Potato Center over the native potato strains and associated traditional knowledge. The agreement requires signatories to ensure that the genetic resources and knowledge remain in the custody of the communities and "not become subject to intellectual property rights" in any form. "These indigenous people are against patents," said Alejandro Argumedo from the Association for Nature and Sustainable Development which helped to broker the deal. "Patents represent a model of property that does not fit into their worldview."
IPC scientists and local farmers will also work to "repatriate" potato varieties from the Center's collection of specimens, and conserve them in a "potato park" that produces about 700 varieties of potato. "Potatoes are important for us as food but also as a cultural symbol,â€� Argumedo also said. â€�We have co-evolved with potatoes. Peru gave the potato to the world, they are so important in marriage and religious ceremonies. They mean so much in Andean culture and iconography that goes back thousands of years." In fact, some see a niche market for history's most important vegetable as Peru's best path out of poverty.
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