Date of Completion

Spring 6-10-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Mark Boyer

Honors Major

Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies | Food Security


Peru and the potato; the two have been linked together for almost 10,000 years. This relationship has developed and born rich food, cultural heritage, and agricultural tradition. Once Spain, one of the dominant global and colonial powers, entered the mix in the 16th C, the makeup of Peru's potato growing industry changed for good. While the potato catapulted Europe's population out of hunger and allowed the Western world to modernize, Peru became merely a stomping ground for raw materials. The economy of Peru--to this day--is dependent on exporting raw materials, which means exporting agricultural goods as well. At one time the most important good to come out of Peru, the potato industry has slipped into the peripheries of profit.

Neoliberal policy implementation in the 1980s in Latin America only aided in making life more precarious for Peruvian potato growers. The privatization of public institutions and emphasis on welcoming foreign capital has transformed agricultural supply chains and hastened environmental degradation in Peru. This paper addresses Peru's legacy of the potato, and explores how neoliberalism has reshaped the region.