How tarwi is improving Andean women’s living conditions

Tarwi is a legume that has been rediscovered. Thanks to a cooperation project, it will improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of the remote Peruvian province of Huaylas.

The cultivation of an ancient variety of legumes will help 400 families improve their social and economic conditions, and strengthen women’s role in family life.


Pamparomas_ foto di Federico Tovoli (13)


It is the tarwi, a legume grown in the Andean region of South America, well-known in the pre-Hispanic period thanks to its proteins, amino acids, and fats.  Rich in proteins, it is an extraordinary food from a nutritional point of view, and today is protagonist of one of Peru’s most isolated communities.


“It is a community that mainly lives on agriculture, at 1,700 to 3,400 metres of altitude, which means it is really isolated,” explains Idoia Ortiz, desk officer for Latin America and Caribbean at Fondazione L’Albero della Vita, organisation working in Peru since 2007 with educational, health, and sustainable development projects. “Here, the population is affected by high levels of child malnutrition and has already abandoned agricultural good practices, resulting in less fertile soils. It is a territory difficult to be reached to provide aids and machinery”.

In this context, there is the project “Mujeres Andinas en cammino – Donne andine in cammino”, aimed to promote rural development of the Peruvian region. It is a project providing agricultural and ecological training that allowed 120 women benefitting from the aids and launching their role in the family income.


Tarwi cultivation on the one hand helps in the daily nutrition being a food containing 41-51% of proteins, 28.2% of carbohydrates, 7.1% of fibres, 15% of calcium, and 10% of iron. On the other hand, it increases the incomes of families living on 30 euros per month.


Pamparomas_ foto di Federico Tovoli (10)


This legume, thanks to the agreements with Anpe (Organic Farmers National Association of Peru), will obtain the certification of agro-ecological product that will allow farmers selling it in the main regional and national markets and fairs, until Lima, the capital. There’s more. The aim is reaching international markets. Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration with Slow Food, the tarwi will be given the possibility to become a Slow Food Presidium, in oder to protect its excellence and small-scale production, by promoting its trade on an international level. Incomes deriving from this new market will help Quechua communities in the province of Huayalas fight poverty and subsistence economy.

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