Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Revitalizing Andean Agricultural Systems in Peru

Puno, Peru, 16 April 2013

In the extensive high Andean plateaus of the Puno region in Peru, embankment systems or artificial land elevations interspersed with deep irrigation channels can be seen. These systems, known as sukaqollos, waru warus or camellones, were developed by the pre Inca culture, 1000 B.C and serve for drainage, sub irrigation and water storage. The sukaqollos are effective means to cultivate tubers (potatoes, oca, olluco and mashua), grains (quinoa, kañihua and tarwi), cereals (barley and oats) and beans.

The sukaqollos or trenches are filled with water, which is warmed by sunlight. When temperatures drop at night, the water gives off warm steam that serves as frost protection for tubers as well as preventing pestilence.  

To revitalize and raise awareness among local communities on the value and function of these traditional Andean systems, the  GIAHS Initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment of Peru, have worked with the Caritamaya community in Acora province  to rehabilitate sukaqollos, helping 410 family farmers.