BIODIVERSITY, FOOD SECURITY, AND BUSINESS
The potato, a tuber with origins in the Andes, influenced Peru’s most ancient cultures. Early Andean inhabitants not only undertook the arduous task of domestication and selection, but they also developed knowledge and technologies which continue to be used widely today.
Peru is home to the world’s largest selection of potato biodiversity, more than 3,000 in total, with a vast array of native varieties. Native potatoes come in an extraordinary array of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. The pulp can be white, yellow, red, blue, orange, purple, and in some cases unique and attractive combinations.
NUTRITION AND HEALTH
Recent evidence shows that native varieties can become a means in which populations vulnerable to chronic undernutrition and anemia can compliment their micronutrient needs. Its natural antioxidants can also be used to differentiate it commercially in current markets and generate more income as a result.
The potato has passed from the humble table of Andean communities to the world’s largest and most luxurious restaurants. There are many ways to prepare the potato, with a surprising versatility in the number of dishes it can produce. There is practically no country in existence that does not use the potato in some form, resulting in exquisite recipes that have a new and modern take on Peru’s acclaimed cuisine.
In recent years, the agriculture industry has seen a rise in the use of native varieties of potatoes. After several investigations, native potato chips were introduced in the national and international market, including some that received organic and fair trade certifications.