chapter  3
Potato Production in the Peruvian Highlands
WithJan Douwe van der Ploeg
Pages 53

This chapter examines the effects of the commoditization process on agricultural practice. In and around Anta Pampa a style of agriculture is practiced which is representative of small-scale production throughout highland Peru, and of its problems. As an allocation mechanism, the market is simply incapable of dynamizing agricultural technology or of alleviating the poverty of the farming people. An essential function of the structure outlined is that general market and price relationships are excluded as organizing principles in agricultural production. A calculus in which institutional and economic preconditions are made the explicit and exclusive starting point for agricultural practice would be an exceedingly fragile construction, for the relevant institutions are very unstable. Agrarian development in the Peruvian highlands is only conceivable as a continuing intensification of agricultural production. The six products are typical of the highland zone: potatoes, maize, beans, barley, wheat and wool.