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Keywords:

  • agricultural biodiversity;
  • in situ conservation;
  • critical geography;
  • Peruvian Andes;
  • repatriation

Abstract

This paper investigates seed politics through the case study of a native potato repatriation and related livelihood projects at the Parque de la Papa (Parque) in the Peruvian Andes. This in situ oriented agrobiodiversity initiative launches a compelling critique—framed in distinctly spatial terms—of standard ex situ conservation paradigms and policies. Specifically, it works to decentralize seed conservation and to re-situate agrobiodiversity within in situ sites and situations. This spatial reconfiguration has political and epistemological implications: it recontextualizes agricultural expertise and the fruits thereof in the farms and daily lives of Andean communities; it grounds political interventions, which recently led to Peru's decade-long moratorium on transgenics; and it offers a decolonizing vision of genetic resource value. Through a variety of practices and discourses the Parque is articulating and actualizing a critical geography of agrobiodiversity and its conservation.