Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Prof. Lucia Cantero


The supply and demand of maca (Lepidium Miyenii), a native Peruvian vegetable, increased over the past decade; however, it has recently reduced. There are many implications for this outcome. Maca, a product with several health benefits, caught the attention of not just foreign businesses and investors but also of Peruvians. As maca became highly commercialized and exported abroad, the actors involved in the maca “business” at all levels contributed to its market to prospered but also to crumble. Some of the reasons due to the exploitation of maca itself for economic gains; distorting maca’s ecological environment and relation with natives; poverty and lack of education, distorting the market price of maca; smuggling maca out Peru through border controls; are amongst some of the few problems maca faces today. Even though there are laws that protect Peru’s biodiversity, including maca, and an anti-biopiracy commission established to track possible cases, along with national media reports that have brought consciousness to government and population on the topic; it has not been sufficient to eradicate or bring solutions to the problems maca has gone through. The reasons are several, Peru and its people are influenced by the footprint of colonization, especially as they live through the effects of coloniality of power and Eurocentrism which is embedded in the culture; as a result, it has affected the way Peruvians have and continue to interact with maca and dominant business actors. The research conducted in Peru reveals the actors involved paved the way for the distortion of maca through their behavior and interactions with mainly foreign businesses, and by ignoring future negative outcomes from their actions. Therefore, it’s a shared responsibility that all actors should be liable for, not just one group as whole. To improve and prevent cases like maca appears in the future, there must be a consensus, not just from the Peruvian people, but also the government. To achieve it, there must be an investment in education, training, etc. to teach and spread ethics and morality to all angles of the population; however, it’ll be challenging as corruption continues to thrive in Peru.