3.1. A Temporal Analysis of the Quinoa Production in Peru in Response to Global Demand
The principal component analysis (PCA), presented in Figure 1
, shows the division of the data in groups: the acreage and exported quantity of quinoa in Peru.
In Figure 1
, a difference in the pattern of the variables can be seen to start in 2009. The differentiation intensifies over the years, with the behavior in 2014 being particularly noteworthy. This event is associated with the beginning of the quinoa boom in Peru, which was a response to the convergence between increased domestic production and international demand in 2009.
At the domestic level, the consumption of quinoa passed through a transition phase, from being a little-valued crop for decades to achieving prominence in the 21st century. Among the explanations for the prolonged marginalization of quinoa, even among the Peruvian population in general, one can mention the lack of knowledge regarding its nutritional value, the preference for wheat-derived products and discrimination arising from the association of its consumption with the poorest segments of society [28
]. Nevertheless, while lacking notoriety, quinoa was thought to have great potential for human agriculture and food [28
], because its importance in ensuring the food security of the pre-Inca and Inca societies was not unknown [30
]. The increase in the yield and acreage of quinoa in the 1990s can be credited primarily to the Peruvian government, which, within the framework of policies designed to reduce poverty, fomented food assistance programs.
The increase in production in the period is also contributed to the increased value attributed quinoa as food among the population.
In 1994, the direct purchase of Andean agricultural products from small farmers was authorized for the first time (Regulation DS No. 029-94-PCM and RM No. 114-94-PRES, of the National Food Support Program—PRONAA), with quinoa being one of those products. Hence, in the following years, the Peruvian government became a major buyer of quinoa, thus enabling and promoting the expansion of the acreage. Analysis of the historical series of agricultural production shows the area planted with quinoa was 47% smaller in the 1980s than that in the following decade [23
]. However, the food assistance programs further favored quinoa farming as from 2008, when Law No. 27060 was passed, which specifically encouraged the social inclusion of local small quinoa farmers (Regulation DS No. 005-2008-MIMDES). Thus, in 2008, the expansion in the acreage was 1.7 times greater than in that in 1995, with an expansion rate of 5%, while the production doubled with a growth rate of 8%. Since then, although changes have taken place at the institutional level, with the restructuring of food aid programs in 2012, the state still strongly promotes quinoa production in different regions of the country for this purpose (e.g., National Program School Food Qali Warma
(DS No. 008-2012-MIDIS), Social Development Cooperation Fund Fondo de Cooperación para el Desarrollo Social
—FONCODES, Cuna más
The importance of the period beginning 2009 can also be seen in the export volumes of Peruvian quinoa (Figure 1
). The amount of quinoa produced increased in proportion to the quantity marketed internationally. Between 2008 and 2014, the export volume increased approximately 18 times, while the price increased approximately twofold. In this context, the United States was the main importer of Peruvian quinoa, and between 1995 and 2014 concentrated, on average, 60% of the total quantity exported (see the historical series [24
]). This growth in the international demand for quinoa may be related to the health concerns of consumers in developed countries, since they are increasingly seeking functional, nutritious and highly beneficial foods [31
Looking at Figure 1
and Figure 2
, it can be seen that 2014 represents the start of a period of unprecedented growth in production and exports, with a variation of approximately 120% and 97%, respectively, compared to 2013. There was also an increase in the price paid to farmers and the export price, of approximately 21% and 26%, respectively. Certainly this was influenced by the events of 2013, which was declared the “International Year of Quinoa (IYQ)” [2
In Appendix 1 of the document published by the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture [35
], there is a detailed list of the activities carried out by Peruvian government institutions to promote Peruvian quinoa at the domestic level in following the IYQ (e.g., boosting research and launching new varieties of quinoa, drafting laws on food and nutritional security, promoting food fairs and partnerships with renowned chefs, etc.) and at the international level (e.g., promoting seminars, festivals, conferences, trade fairs, business encounters, etc.). The result of these actions was made apparent in the increasing per capita consumption of quinoa among the Peruvian population, which, according to [36
], increased 129% in the period from 2000 to 2014, from 1.10 kg/person to 2.54 kg/person.
Therefore, the incentives provided by the Peruvian government to increase the production of quinoa, especially from 2008, were successful, as they brought about a change in the pattern of production, which also made it possible to meet the international demand. Internally, while Peru has strongly encouraged the export of fresh food in recent years, no other foodstuff has demonstrated rates of growth in production as radical as those of quinoa, which at the same time, is an example of the recovery of a neglected and underutilized species (NUS). Thus, it seems both timely and necessary to describe and analyze the changes in land-use that have accompanied the expansion of quinoa farming. Below, there is an examination of the impact of the quinoa boom in relation to the trends in the use of agricultural land in Peru and their implications.
3.2. Quinoa Expansion in Peru and Its Implications in Land-Use
The increasing global demand for quinoa has led to the restructuring the use of productive land in Peru, as presented in Figure 3
, which shows the pattern of expansion of the acreage under quinoa in the 11 traditional producing regions in the period 1995–2014 considering two variables: the observed expansion rate (OER) and the predicted expansion rate (PER). The PER reflects the predicted expansion rate of the acreage of quinoa in Peru considering the pattern seen in the pre-boom period of 1995–2008. Note the difference in the patterns of expansion that followed both variables. As from 2009, the average values of OER and PER were 16.23% and 2.76%, respectively. This shows that the expansion of the acreage with quinoa in these regions would have been lower than the observed behavior, if there had been no boom in the demand for quinoa.
The expansion rate varied among the geographic regions due to the new land-use trends in Peru, which are being shaped according to the market demand for quinoa. Since the quinoa boom is a relatively recent phenomenon, it is important to analyze the implications for land-use arising from the expansion of the acreage. This is especially relevant because Peru is the largest producer of quinoa and has its agriculture based on small-scale production, since approximately 82% of the existing agricultural units in the country cover fewer than five hectares [37
Given that land-change science is an interdisciplinary field [38
], the analysis is based on contributions from Lambin and Meyfroidt [15
], who, in addressing the influence of globalization on land-use change, explore three phenomena, namely: the displacement, rebound and the cascade effects. Displacement is related to the migration of activities from one place to another in a manner that brings about land-use changes in new locations. The second phenomenon, rebound, relates land-use changes with the measures taken to increase the efficiency of production, whether by the use of technology or an increase in the number of companies. Finally, the third phenomenon, the cascade effect, is a chain of events caused by a disturbance that affects the land system as a result of the substitution of areas for the production of other crops in specific agro-ecological conditions or land conversion, thus leading to additional environmental effects that are not immediately measurable.
The first phenomenon, displacement, may be associated with the quinoa boom given the speed of the increase in production in Peru to meet global demand, resulting in the expansion of the acreage in traditional producing regions as well as in the expansion in the Peruvian coastal regions, where quinoa has been introduced thanks to its adaptability and tolerance of extreme environments, such as saline soils and temperatures of up to 38 °C [39
As can be seen in Figure 3
and Table 1
, in view of the quinoa boom, the Arequipa region stands out because it largely meets demand, with an average expansion rate of 123% in the acreage between 2008 and 2014, but the magnitude of its importance is even greater if we consider this means an increase of 7773% in the acreage, compared to the year 1995. This extraordinary expansion meant that while in 2008 it accounted for approximately 1%, of national production, by 2014 that figure was 30%.
To achieve the record quinoa harvest, between 2013 and 2014, the rate of expansion of the acreage accelerated in all the traditional producing regions (Figure 3
), ranging between 8% in Puno and 481% in Arequipa. Thus, there was also a redistribution of production between regions, which is highlighted by the reduction in Puno’s share of the total national production from 81% in the period 2002–2008 to 32% in 2014.
Given the situation outlined above, it is clear that the quinoa boom has caused two phenomena. On the one hand, it encouraged the acceleration of the expansion of agricultural areas in the traditional quinoa farming regions, leading to competition for greater market share. On the other hand, it led to the extension of quinoa farming to new regions. Hence, given that, worldwide, the ability to produce food is affected by the intensification of competition for land [40
], the future requirements for farmland to produce quinoa in Peru need to be considered by decision makers and the formulators of public policy. This is particularly important if one considers that to meet the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture’s projected production of 212 thousand tons for the year 2020, a total of approximately 114,000 hectares of land [36
] would be required, which is 167% more than the amount used in 2014.
The second phenomenon, the rebound effect, is related to changes in land-use in Peru, with increasingly efficient production through the use of technology and the increased number of companies related to the processing of quinoa. To highlight the first case, Table 1
shows the variation in yield per region and shows that, during the 2009–2013 period, the rate varied between −5% in Puno and 25% in Arequipa. In absolute values, this means a yield equal to 1137 kg/ha, in the case of Puno and 2380 kg/ha, in the case of Arequipa. With the increase in production between 2013 and 2014, the yield in the Puno region remained close to 1121 kg/ha, while the Arequipa region achieved a yield of 4086 kg/ha. In general, a large part of these differences can be attributed to the heterogeneity of the edaphoclimatic factors (soil and climate), at the different ecological levels where quinoa is farmed.
For example, in Puno—the main quinoa producing region—the crop occupies areas located between 3800 and 3950 m above sea level, and resists dry and cold weather [39
]. In that region, crop rotation (potatoes, cereals, legumes, tubers, forage) is the basis of quinoa farming, with the soil left fallow to recover fertility [40
]. Given the characteristics of the production system, if there is an increase in yield in this region, there may be greater demand to expand the planted area, substitute crops or abandon traditional agricultural practices to meet market demand. In turn, in the case of the Arequipa region—the second largest quinoa producing region in the country since 2013—yields are highly favorable since the weather conditions are less severe than in the Puno region and also because it includes part of the Peruvian coast. In this case, the highly efficient quinoa production also leads to an expansion rather than a reduction in the acreage, since the high yields obtained in the region make it more attractive and conducive to the expansion of activity.
To highlight another rebound effect, the case of the new quinoa producing regions along the Peruvian coast, which have higher yields than the traditional producing regions, is explored. While the yield in the Peruvian coastal regions was around 2465 kg/ha in 2014, that of the traditional producing regions was approximately 1618 kg/ha, in the same year. Thus, it seems that the rebound effect was caused by technological improvements that raised the efficiency of quinoa production to meet the demand of new industrial companies that settled in the area to boost the integration of this product, with some added value, in global value chains. For example, in 2015, export-oriented processing plants producing ready-to eat products made from quinoa were opened in the La Libertad region, (e.g., Danper S.A.C Trujillo, Sociedad Agrícola Virú S.A.).
Land-use change through the rebound effect is especially important considering that the market for quinoa is expanding. Thus, given the expansion of the quinoa market and due to the rebound effect, and also considering that the expansion in acreage cannot continue indefinitely, there will certainly be pressure on land-use. Thus, it is crucial that decision-makers and/or public policy makers in Peru stimulate the use of good farming practices in the production of quinoa, especially in the traditional quinoa producing regions.
The third phenomenon, the cascade effects, may be one of the consequences of the quinoa boom, since, if the growing demand for the product persists together with the need to intensify or expand production, there may be environmental impacts on the soil leading to further degradation and even desertification in certain regions [12
]. It is known that the soil ecosystem, through soil retention and soil formation functions, helps preserve land arable, prevent erosion, ensure productivity and protect naturally productive soils, among others [41
], thus, directly impacting the food production capacity [42
Erosion is the main cause of land degradation in the Peruvian Sierra, affecting about 50–60% of the agricultural area under cultivation [12
], within which lie the traditional quinoa producing regions. It has already been pointed out that the future of global agricultural productivity is linked to soil erosion, and soil quality is affected by agricultural practices [43
]. Thus, it is opportune to review the subject of soil conservation in the traditional quinoa producing regions (e.g., proper soil management, farming practices, etc.). For example, in the Puno region, there are signs traditional agricultural practices are being abandoned to increase the volume of quinoa produced [44
]. The region has the greatest genetic diversity of quinoa [6
] and is the home of other Andean food products of great importance (such as cañigua, mashua, oca, tarhui, etc.). This could trigger the loss of genetic diversity in the local agriculture, if other crops are no longer grown or fewer varieties are grown due to commercial pressures. Another possible consequence might be the emergence of difficult-to-control pests due to the reduced genetic diversity and climate change in the producing regions [45
], reducing the number of natural enemies of pests [48
], and certainly impacting on nutritional security in those regions [49
The conservation of agricultural biodiversity encompasses multiple dimensions: ecosystem services [50
], sustainable production, food security, product diversification, reduced dependence on external inputs and improvement of livelihoods for small farmers [51
]. In the case of the Andean region, the biodiversity is also the basis of food sovereignty because there are human communities that maintain and support the agrobiodiversity as part of their social and natural heritage [54
Salinization is the main cause of land degradation along the Peruvian coast, which includes the new quinoa producing regions, and affects 40% of the occupied agricultural area with a significant part in the Piura and Lambayeque regions [12
]. Unlike the traditional producing regions, the farming practices used in the cultivation of quinoa in the new regions along the Peruvian coast are still experimental, since quinoa was introduced to reconvert areas of other crops, mainly rice.
Since 2014, the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged the conversion of rice farmland to quinoa in the regions of La Libertad, Lambayeque and Piura to reduce the water consumption required for rice cultivation, which has accentuated the process of salinization. While rice requires, on average, 15,000 m3
/ha of water, quinoa needs only 6000 m3
/ha. However, while the crop conversion measures in these areas may be convenient, phytosanitary problems affecting quinoa production could be a source of concern for local agriculture. The study by [56
] shows there are a variety of known diseases which appear especially when quinoa is grown in areas outside the traditional growing regions, although Downy Mildew (caused by the fungus Peronospora farinosa
) is the most common disease in quinoa. In view of this, the “Import Refusal Report” from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that, in 2014, quinoa from Peru was refused entry due to excessive levels of pesticide residues [57
]. As it is basically dealing with quinoa from the Peruvian coast, it can be deduced that, due to biological pressure from pests such as “Ticona” (Feltia experta
) and/or “Kcona Kcona” (Eurysacca quinoae Povolny
], producers adopt harmful control measures, such as the excessive use of pesticides. Furthermore, pesticides can contaminate the soil and affect its fertility, because the heavy application of pesticides can cause the decline of beneficial microorganisms in the soil [45
As shown above, through the cascade effects, the land-use changes accompanying the boom quinoa are associated with the disturbance of the soil ecosystem. Thus, the variability of expansion rate of the acreage of quinoa at the regional level requires urgent attention, mainly because soil properties are so variable over space and time [43
]. There is a need to determine whether expanding the acreage of quinoa jeopardizes agricultural productivity, the production of other crops, and/or accelerates soil fertility loss, either by transformations to traditional agricultural practices or the excess use of pesticides [45