Maca, the Ancient Inca superfood has become a sensational product due to its rich vitamins and nutrients. This boom in the food industry has helped farmers in Peru’s highland region of Junin to create a sustainable income.
However, between 2013 and 2014, Chinese demand turned the maca market upside down when they started to grow it. Peruvian farmers were receiving offers from buyers at ten times their normal prices, without imagining that they will soon become their biggest competitors. “The Chinese came here with trucks, went wherever maca was planted, and bought at a high price.”,one roadside seller told VICE News.
Now that Maca seeds have been smuggled into China, Dora Huaman, a fourth-generation grower considers that there is no point in selling Maca as they are losing money. Dora explains to Vice in regards to the poor intervention of the Peruvian authorities to avoid this problem, she says “the government didn’t control the seed going out. China is growing it now and have become our competitors.”
Maca farmers cannot sell their product due to the low prices that the Chinese companies have set in the market. This is a problematic situation as Junin citizens’ main income is the production of Maca.
The Peruvian government is taking action and is betting on a 2014 International law called the Nagoya Protocol, designed to prevent biopiracy by stating that native products and species only belong to its place and its people.
Do you think Maca farmers will overcome this situation?