In the high Andes, what was the main food crop? It’s quinoa. It grows at high altitudes, and until 2008, 90% of the world’s supply came from Peru and Bolivia. The ancient Andean cultures considered quinoa a sacred grain. They believed that they needed it to keep the sun moving to preserve life. Today, we have the opportunity to explore quinoa’s ancient history.
Native to the Americas, cassava can be grown at higher elevations than most other crops, but it is not a true high-altitude crop. It grows from sea level to about 1800 meters and requires less than 500 mm of rainfall. While potatoes are cultivated at high altitudes, they originated in the Andes, where they can grow in a wide variety of environmental conditions. In addition to its food value, cassava is also used for animal feed, biofuel, and even paper and fabric.
This study evaluated the economic and social impacts of climate change on native Andean crops and livestock. It used participatory workshops and semi-structured interviews to gather information on agronomic practices and land use. The authors also collected data on crop and livestock biodiversity, logging and meat consumption, and the role of local women in farming in high elevations. They also surveyed agronomists in the area.
The complementarity of agricultural practices extends beyond the household. Even before European contact, Andean residents participated in large-scale, seasonal trading with other agroecological regions. This practice was also facilitated by the development of terraced fields. Andean studies refer to this phenomenon as verticality, or vertical archipelago. This study also focuses on the physical, socio-economic, and political systems of the Andes during three historical periods.
As the study’s title indicates, the colomi farming region in Bolivia is at the eastern end of the Andean range. It spans a large part of the steep downhill slope that eventually becomes the tropical lowlands of the Amazon basin. The region is wind-ward and receives considerable rainfall. Rainfall varies widely throughout the year, but the sub-puna is primarily located around the valley bottom and the fertile plain of Lago de Corani.
While cassava was the central food crop in the Andes, potatoes became the main staple in tropical America and even Argentina during the twentieth century. Several species of Phaseolus are widely cultivated. This plant is a staple of the diets of most countries in the world. A few species are native to the high Andes, including sweet potato and cassava.
The coca plant is an important staple of the Andes, which is native to South America. The leaves of the coca plant are used as a staple food and as a source of caffeine. It is also used for medicinal purposes. It is an effective local anaesthetic, and is chewed to ease stomach pain, toothache, and gastrointestinal complaints. It is also said to hasten labour and ease pain during childbirth. Today, many Andean immigrants in the UK consume coca in the form of legal coca products. In ancient times, the coca leaves were chewed three times a day before starting work, to avoid the effects of altitude and relieve fatigue.
In addition to cocoa, sugarcane, bananas, and quinoa are other native crops that were introduced by Europeans. Sugarcane became a major source of income in the northern part of Brazil and other parts of South America, and has become the world’s biggest export of bananas. In the high Andes, bananas were also the main crop, and Ecuador became the world’s largest banana exporter during the 20th century. Coconuts are also widely grown in the coastal areas. Andean countries also introduced rice to the world, and it has become one of their staple foods.
When the first Inca Manco Capac came to the region in the eleventh century, coca use was well established. The plant was regarded as a sacred crop and used by the royal class for social, religious, and political purposes. Common people chewed coca leaves but were punished if they did so. Commoners, however, were allowed to use the leaves in the form of offerings, and they may have used them as trepanations.
In ancient times, the high-altitude Andes were home to the highest cacao plant on earth. Its production in the Anden Gegenden is an excellent example of how to cultivate this food crop. These terraced lands are known as Agricultural Andenes, and are found in many regions of Peru. The Andenes are a region rich in biodiversity.