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Cusichaca Trust

DM 2009 Winner Cusichaca Trust Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Myra Valenzuela's picture

Source of Photo: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/Climate change has exacerbated the dryness of the eight-month dry season in Peru’s highlands. As a means of adaptation, the Cusichaca Trust and the Asociación Andina Cusichaca are using a DM grant to restore proven Inca-era agricultural practices to conserve water and increase crop yields.

A couple of months ago, journalist Cynthia Graber visited the project and featured it in Smithsonian Magazine:


The Andes are some of the tallest, starkest mountains in the world. Yet the Incas, and the civilizations before them, coaxed harvests from the Andes’ sharp slopes and intermittent waterways. They developed resilient breeds of crops such as potatoes, quinoa and corn. They built cisterns and irrigation canals that snaked and angled down and around the mountains. And they cut terraces into the hillsides, progressively steeper, from the valleys up the slopes. At the Incan civilization’s height in the 1400s, the system of terraces covered about a million hectares throughout Peru and fed the vast empire.