Since the start-up of its operations in Peru, Pan American Silver has adopted a policy of corporate social responsibility through which a series of highly successful projects have been implemented. A clear understanding and a strong connection to the local communities are the foundation for responsible growth. This involves careful planning and project execution with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable economies.
San Francisco de Mosca, a small community in the Ambo province, Huánuco region, has been deprived of the benefit of progress in the last century. When our social workers visited the community, they conducted a social assessment study and chose the group of people in most need, 140 farming families who cultivate their land according to the ancestral agricultural practices of the region. Small-scale farmers started the process of rediscovering native potato varieties, species from before the Spanish colonization in the 1500s. Studies determined that there is demand from gourmet markets in the thriving restaurant industry in Lima, which is looking to revive heritage produce in their modern twist of traditional food. This new initiative started in April, 2012 and is executed with the help of the Catholic Church through their foundation, Cáritas del Perú, that helps farming families improve their living conditions through the cultivation of native potatoes.
The Project has started on a high note. For Farmers Day, and for the first time in this farming community, a regional fair was organized on June 23, 2012. In this fair, local products such as numerous varieties of native potatoes and livestock were presented. There are more than 5,000 varieties of native potatoes in Peru, the most optimistic number reaches up to 15,000. Of those, only three or four varieties – including the yellow potato which is a hybrid – are widely used for human consumption.
With this project, more than 50 species of native potatoes have been recovered and are being produced locally.