Mountain Partnership Products: Promoting Goods Grown by Mountain Farmers around the World 

About 27% of the Earth’s land surface is covered by towering peaks that reach towards the sky. While certainly majestic, mountains are also an essential source of freshwater, energy, and food, not just for an estimated 1.1 billion mountain people, but also for billions more living downstream. Yet mountain areas face numerous challenges such as poverty, climate change, deforestation, and limited access to resources — and 90% of mountain dwellers live in developing countries, where poverty and food insecurity are prevalent. More than 608 million mountain family farms produce around 80% of the world’s food in monetary value terms. These farmers have adapted to the harsh terrain through centuries of indigenous methods of small-scale, low-carbon footprint, crop diverse agricultural practices.

The Mountain Partnership Products (MPP) initiative was created to uplift mountain farmers, support their work, and ensure a better, more equitable future. Working with mountain communities in Latin America, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia (including Bolivia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Peru and the Philippines), MPP promotes healthy, organic, and locally sourced products grown and produced by small-holder farmers, while ensuring they receive fair compensation for their work. The result is a holistic answer to the economic and environmental challenges facing these communities.

Developed in collaboration with Slow Food, the MPP uses a «narrative» label to communicate each product’s origin, cultivation, processing, nutritional value, and cultural significance, enabling consumers to make a more informed purchase and producers to sell at a premium price. Consumers can recognize mountain products in the marketplace, and traditional techniques and products can thrive. The initiative’s aim is to improve mountain communities’ livelihoods and local economies while preserving traditional knowledge and agrobiodiversity by strengthening the value chain and creating marketing techniques for high-quality mountain products. Currently 45 products from eight countries proudly bear the MPP label.

MPP works directly with farming communities. Mountain farming, mainly undertaken by family farmers due to the unique challenges of mountainous terrain, plays a vital role in ensuring household food security. Indigenous and local populations possess valuable knowledge, traditions, and cultural practices that contribute to effective land management strategies. One of the core pillars of MPP is to provide support to producers’ organizations through capacity building and training. In Bolivia, for example, seven producer organizations (200 producers) were involved in MPP training activities: 160 women farmers were trained to improve the Melipona bee honey value chain and 40 farmers were trained on the selection and classification of seeds, pest control, harvesting and storage of black amaranth.

photo by Mountain Partnership Products

According to the organization, they have worked with some 18,000 farmers, 60% of whom are women. The labelling scheme includes actions to improve the entire value chain, with a specific focus on marketing strategies and the capacity development in communities while helping to safeguard traditional knowledge and mountain biodiversity. MPP notes that most producers reported significant increases in market demand, selling price, and production after adopting the MPP label. For example, Peruvian blueberry jam and golden berry jam producers increased their sales by 33 percent and 49 percent respectively in the last year. Soured from the highest peaks and enjoyed all the way down to sea level, MPP is helping consumers make well informed shopping decisions to help farmers and promote a better, more sustainable future for all.

More about the Mountain Partnership Products.

Mountain Partnership Products

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