Articles authored by Hellin, Jon


Andean farmers have traditionally adapted and selected varieties of quinoa and potatoes to reduce their vulnerability to a range of environmental risks. Data suggest that this strategy is being undermined. Market pressures, particularly the requirements for consistency and quantity along with the import of subsidised wheat products, are leading to the displacement of quinoa and indigenous potato varieties. This paper explores the feasibility of maintaining crop diversity while ensuring that farmers benefit from market opportunities.

Crop genetic diversity and poverty are linked: first, resource-poor farmers often maintain genetic diversity; and second, crop diversity, when properly valued by the market, has the potential to alleviate poverty. This article examines this supposition based on three case studies of the intersection of the market with poverty and maize diversity in Mexico.

This article reports on an ex-ante impact study in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia. The study, guided by a livelihoods approach, developed a spatial-mapping methodology based on secondary data for 18 variables which served as indicators of the five livelihood classes of assets (natural, physical, financial, social, and human). The overall livelihood-asset index showed a significant and strong negative correlation (R = –0.65, P = 0.00) with the national poverty line, with poverty peaking in districts where the assets base was lowest, and vice versa.

Practical Notes

While rural poverty is endemic in the Andean region, structural adjustment programmes have led to a dismemberment of agricultural research and extension services so that they are unable to serve the needs of smallholder farmers. The NGO Practical Action has been working in the Andes to address farmers' veterinary and agriculture needs. The work has included the training of farmer-to-farmer extension agents, known locally as Kamayoq.