Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Peru

Peru_MapPeru is a large country in western South America, but only 3.2% of the area is under crops. Andean agriculture is largely for subsistence and Peru is a net importer of several agricultural commodities. Agriculture contributes about 13% to GDP and employs about 30% of the workforce. Main crops are rice, maize, potato and sugarcane.

In the last decades, a considerable effort in plant breeding has been made in Peru. This country has many institutions with potential to engage in plant breeding. Nevertheless most of the active programmes are carried out at two institutes: the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM), and the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciòn Agraria (INIA). The private sector is only represented by farmer associations or Research Institutes financed by private farmers.

Peru is an extremely diverse country – culturally and ecologically -- and has a huge biodiversity. That has many consequences in the strategies, plans, and impacts of the plant breeding activities, because many varieties are required to cover the ecological diversity, using all the biological diversity to fix complexes and diverse markets limited by cultural and different forms of utilization. Main crops covered by Peruvian plant breeding programmes are maize, potato, wheat, quinoa and cotton.

Because of the country’s eco-geographical diversity, the adaptation of improved varieties is generally limited to a relatively small area. In turn the government does not give a very high priority to research in plant breeding. The lack of support of the international community is seen to be the most limiting factor of the success of Peruvian breeding programmes. The inadequate number of breeders is also a major issue.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


National Agricultural Research Institute - Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agraria (INIA)
Website available in Spanish

INIA has twelve main experimental stations and more than 40 sub-stations from sea level to over 4 200 meters above sea level. Researchers are working in crop science, plant breeding, animal breeding, animal husbandry, forestry and agroforestry science, biotechnology and genetic resources. Plant breeding programmes in INIA include maize, grain legumes, potato, and Andean crops and have activities in many places of the Peruvian highlands. They have strengthened their capacities with strong links with international centers, mainly CIMMYT, CIAT, ICARDA and CIP. INIA is involved in plant biotechnology.


National University of Agriculture La Molina - Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM)
Website available in Spanish

UNALM has seven breeding programmes and two biotechnology centres. It is working since 1953 in Plant Breeding for field corn and floury corn, in the conservation of the maize genetic resources, and in research in agronomy technology. UNALM also has programmes on grain legumes, potato and cotton.


Research Centre of Andean Crops - Centro de Investigación en Cultivos Andinos (CICA), Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Website available in Spanish

UNSAAC has several Agricultural Research Programs. CICA, created in 1976, is the more active in plant breeding. It works mainly in Andean grains: quinoa, amaranthus, lupinus, maize. Students are involved in the research projects in different ways.


Peruvian Amazon Research Institute – Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP)
Website available in Spanish and English

IIAP is the best case in Peru of an independent Regional Research Institute. Some of its breeding projects are linked to National Universities. The papaya and coconut projects work jointly with the Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva and are good examples of this institutional cooperation.

Private Institutes


Peruvian Institute of Cotton - Instituto Peruano del Algodon (IPA)
Website available in Spanish and English

IPA deals only with cotton and allocates 80% of its budget to plant breeding. 60% is directed to line evaluation, while 30% is used for line development and 10% for germplasm enhancement. IPA has already released 7 varieties.


Foundation for Cotton Development - Fundacion para el Desarrollo Algodonero (FUNDEAL)
No Website available

FUNDEAL deals only with cotton and allocates 60% of its budget to plant breeding. 60% is directed to line development, while 25% is used for line evaluation and 15% for germplasm enhancement. Up to now, no variety has been released by this foundation.


Farmer’s Association of Ica - Asociacion de Agricultores de Ica
No Website available

Like other organizations working with cotton in the past years, this farmers’ association had to face the lack of competitiveness of Peruvian cotton, in spite of the tradition of the good quality of cotton in Peru, such as the Pima and Tanguis varieties. The Asociacion de Agricultores de Ica also works with the breeding of other crops, such as Lima bean. 100% of its budget is allocated to plant breeding.


Information by Ricardo Sevilla Panizo (2008) - Information based on the Peru's full report from the PBBC survey.
Last revised 26-03-2010, GIPB.