Andean Farmers Use Ancient Agricultural Methods Amid Climate Change

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Andean Farmers Use Ancient Agricultural Methods Amid Climate Change

In the high-altitude plains of the Andes, bordering Peru and Bolivia, Andean farmers use ancient agricultural methods known as Waru Waru, experiencing a resurgence among local farmers as a sustainable solution to the escalating challenges posed by climate change. These pre-Columbian farming techniques, characterized by their distinctive circular patterns from above, are an innovative approach to safeguarding vital crops such as potatoes and quinoa against the adverse effects of unpredictable weather patterns.

Cesar Cutipa, a 42-year-old farmer from the region, highlights the significance of these traditional methods in the current climate scenario. “Andean farmers use ancient agricultural methods like the Waru Waru system to counteract the impacts of climate change, which has disrupted our seasonal cycles. It’s particularly effective during periods of drought and frost,” he explained to AFP.

Situated approximately 3,812 meters above sea level near the expansive Lake Titicaca, the Puno region has recently witnessed the construction of six Waru Waru fields. These fields, designed to mitigate flooding, feature elevated planting beds surrounded by water channels. These channels prevent flooding during the rainy season through an efficient drainage system and create a microclimate that retains solar heat during the day and releases it at night, thus protecting crops from freezing temperatures.

Gaston Quispe, an agronomist working in the area, praised the multifaceted benefits of the Waru Waru. “Their intelligent design ensures that the fields remain unflooded, even in heavy rains, thanks to a sophisticated drainage system that channels excess water to nearby rivers,” he noted.

Andean Farmers Use Ancient Agricultural Methods Amid Climate Change

The revival of these ancient techniques comes at a critical time for Puno, which recently experienced one of its most severe droughts in nearly 60 years. The Waru Waru helped local farmers navigate the water scarcity and played a crucial role in preventing food shortages in the region.

Indigenous farming communities predominantly inhabit the Andean plateaus, including the Quechua in Peru and the Quechua and Aymara populations in Bolivia. For these communities, the re-adoption of Waru Waru is more than a farming practice; it’s a way to sustain their livelihoods and traditions in harmony with the environment.

Valeria Nahua, a 22-year-old local farmer, reflected on the importance of these methods for community well-being. “Thanks to our traditional practices like Waru Waru, we can sustain ourselves with our potatoes, quinoa, and barley crops. This self-sufficiency allows us to live peacefully without migrating to urban areas,” she stated.

As climate change continues to pose significant threats to traditional farming practices worldwide, the revival of ancient techniques like Waru Waru in the Andes is a testament to the enduring wisdom of indigenous agricultural practices and their potential to offer sustainable solutions in the face of environmental challenges.

Also Read: Hydropower Generation In Brazil To Contribute To Global Natural Gas Surplus


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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