Helping Peruvians Improve Prosperity Through Better Potato Farming
Through Newmont’s voluntary participation in a number of external global initiatives and partnerships, we are committed to working collaboratively with others to improve sustainability engagement and performance across the mining industry.
In Peru, our support of the PROPAPA Cajamarca program is a step toward fulfilling this commitment.
Potatoes are a significant source of food for billions of people around the globe. It is the world’s fourth-largest crop, following rice, wheat and corn, and has a history of domestication that extends as far back as 8,000 years when it is believed the Incas became the first civilization to farm this vegetable in Peru. Despite this long history, recent consumption and crop production of Peru’s native potatoes have declined due to lack of investment in infrastructure, changing climate and greater availability of imported rice and wheat.
Located high in the Andes Mountains, where potato farming is a way of life, Newmont’s joint venture, Minera Yanacocha, is helping farmers in Cajamarca and Celendín increase crop production.
Through the PROPAPA Cajamarca program and Los Andes de Cajamarca Association (ALAC), a Newmont-supported organization dedicated to improving social and economic development in the communities surrounding our operations, farmers are taught how to supplement ancient practices with new modern farming methods, such as aeroponic farming. Aeroponic systems stimulate seed growth and increase harvests and allow farmers to grow potatoes year-round in a greenhouse. In 2010, ALAC and ADERS Peru, a non-government organization (NGO) that shares Newmont’s social mission, built an aeroponic greenhouse.
Other infrastructure improvements undertaken by Yanacocha that aid farmers include new or improvedroads that help rural farmers transport and trade their potatoes, as well as reservoirs that make both potable and non-potable water more accessible.
Since launching the PROPAPA Cajamarca program in 2010, more than 1,200 Peruvian families improved their income by implementing better, more sustainable potato production and distribution methods. In addition, our Yanacocha lunchrooms only serve potatoes grown by local farmers, and with the support of ADERS Peru, we also helped establish distribution relationships with large supermarket chains in Cajamarca to sell the potatoes produced by the project.
"I'm very happy because our potatoes are already sold in [the local supermarket] and we are producing a quality potato," says Humberto Flores, a native potato producer in the Yerba Buena Chica hamlet, which is located in the Cajamarca region’s La Encañada district.
Whether we are in the highlands of Peru or one of our other operations, Newmont is committed to advancing the social and economic development of the communities and governments where we work. By helping to improve infrastructure, education, skills and more, we are making a positive and lasting impact.