Peru: Cusco’s giant white corn crops endangered by climate change, producers claim

Isabel Guerra

Peru: Cusco's Giant White Corn crops endangered by climate change, producers claimLast January’s floods in Cusco swept away 3,500 hectares of Cusco’s giant white corn crops, that is, half of the production of the famous variety cultivated in the Sacred Valley.

This corn variety, that had been declared as cultural heritage due to its taste and its huge size, is now being attacked by plagues that have appeared in the valley, triggered by the increased humidity and higher temperatures.

Moreover, Cusco’s Regional Directorate is warning that this year’s production will not meet the foreign demand expected for this year, specially from Japan, Spain and the US, where this variety of corn is appreciated as a snack.

However, the issue implies more than this: officials from the Directorate and renowned local producers point out at the fact that the climatic change is in fact threatening this corn, that grows in Calca and Urubamba provinces.

“Cobs are smallers, and the corn is uneven, drier and a rougher texture,” claims Luis Vargas, from Calca’s Agrarian Agency.

Another specialists point out at another factors, like the lack of efforts to maintain the crops’ quality: “Most of the producers don’t worry about improving their production, and there is not any institution researching on this,” says Luis Sumar, one of the largest producers from the Sacred Balley, who has lost 40% of his production this year.

Questioned about this, the Regional Director of Agriculture, Américo Cáceres, said that there is not any improvement plan at the moment since his office is prioritizing the help for the Cusco farmers who have lost their crops to the floods, whose losses have been estimated in S/. 169 million altogether.

(Photo: El Comercio)

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