Research center donates CARAL 2020 prize to protect health and livelihoods of Andean potato farmers amid COVID-19 crisis

21,600 bottles of potato-based hand sanitizer donated to rural community by award winners

Key messages

  • Nearly 10 years of experience demonstrates effectiveness of partnerships between the private and research sectors in growing farmer incomes and potato productivity rates.
  • In repurposing part of the vodka production of 14 Inkas, both the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Peruvian distillery are protecting the livelihoods of 450 farming families vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • With free hand sanitizer and sanitation training to 450 families, and CIP and 14 Inkas are protecting lives and health in rural Peru.

After being nominated for the CARAL 2020 prize, CIP joined forces with 14 Inkas to protect the incomes of small-scale potato farmers and the population from the further spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

The CARAL Prize is awarded by the National Program for Agricultural Innovation (PNIA) of the World Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture in recognition of the contribution of agricultural innovation to the country. It highlights innovative projects that have enhanced opportunities for Peruvian farmers and agribusinesses. The INCOPA project was selected by the judges for its impressive track record over 10 years in responding to challenges in the fields of agrobiodiversity, value chain development, climate change resilience, and sustainable development.

The CIP INCOPA project successfully introduced commercial, technological and institutional innovations to help improve the competitiveness of small potato producers in the Peruvian Andes. Two impact studies undertaken in Huánuco and Apurímac demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach. The Huánuco study in Cayna district highlighted that farmers increased their annual potato sales by 185% to USD 2,058 and yields by 40%. The Apurímac study in Andahuaylas district found that farmer yields for native potatoes rose by 30%, and incomes by 68% to USD 1,748.

“CIP continues building on the achievements of INCOPA, developing technologies and approaches that are flexible and innovative enough to respond to crises like the present COVID-19 pandemic. This collaboration with 14 Inkas is a great example of the benefits of a private sector partnership,” said Dr Barbara Wells, Director General of the International Potato Center.

©Destilería Espíritu Andino

For the last leg of the competition, external judges reviewed 100 innovation projects with the best record of impact across Peru and on 29 May 2020 selected CIP as the one with the most effective plan to spend the prize money. As COVID-19 continues to ravage country, CIP teamed up with 14 Inkas and donated the USD 20,000 prize money to breathe life into the native potato value chain by producing hand sanitizer for distribution in the rural potato-growing Pazos district in Huancavelica region in central Peru.

14 Inkas will use the prize money to buy potatoes from small-scale farmers to make 21,600 10cl bottles of hand sanitizer in their distillery by July 2020. For help with distribution, 14 Inkas turned to CIP to liaise with communities in Pazos. Sensing the opportunity for greater impact, CIP added an educational element to the project to protect the Pazos community from COVID-19. Each bottle of sanitizer will be distributed free of charge together with pamphlets on health and safety protocols.

“This is a win-win situation,” said 14 Inkas CEO, Omar Cosio. “The vodka market is frozen right now and we have commitments to buy potatoes from farmers. If we don’t buy, that product will go to waste and farmers lose money. Potato processors normally pay PEN 0.2 per kg to farmers, we will pay five times that figure, PEN 1 per kg. Now we will be able to honor our agreements with farmers and return something valuable to the communities.”


About CIP

Founded in 1971, CIP is an international CGIAR research center focusing on potato, sweetpotato and Andean roots and tubers. It seeks innovative science-based solutions to improve access to affordable food, foster sustainable and inclusive business and employment growth, and drive climate resilience of root and tuber agri-food systems. Headquartered in Lima, Peru, the CIP has a presence in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Acerca de la Destilería Espíritu Andino

The Distillery Espíritu Andino is a Peruvian venture that launched “14 Inkas”, the first high quality vodka that is manufactured from native Andean potatoes in the world. Its value chain involves more than 150 families producing native Huancavelica potatoes and the quality of the 14 Inkas product has been acclaimed internationally at the:

  • San Francisco World Spirits Competitions 2020 – GOLD MEDAL
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competitions 2019 – DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
  • The Vodka Master Hong Kong 2019 (The Business Spirits) – GOLD MEDAL.
  • The Vodka Master London 2018 – (The Business Spirits) – GOLD MEDAL.
  • New York World Wine & Spirits Competitions August 2018 – GOLD MEDAL.

Media contact:

Viviana Infantas
Media  and Events Specialist