Over four millenaries ago, potatoes were first introduced in the Andes region, and have become the fourth largest food crop in the world after maize, wheat and rice. Though there is no a specific place of origin, South America is said to have been the birth place of potatoes.
Peru is said to have over 4000 types of potatoes due to favorable variety of climates and soil that allows tubers to grow. History reveals, potatoes in Peru were domesticated in multiple locations independently. It was thought that genetic manipulation was performed by the ancient farmers on the wide variety of species and cultivars somewhere between 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Over the years, selective breeding has been done hence a thousand different types of potatoes remain in Peru.
Some of the most popular potatoes are: (don’t worry, we won’t list all 4,000 varieties)
1. Papa Blanca, White Potato which is firm and has a pale whitish color.
2. Papa Canchan, Papa Rosada which has pink thin skin and its meat is pale whitish colour.
3. Papa Amarilla which has yellow or butter color flesh.
4. Papa Negra, Papa Mariva which is dark brown turning black with yellowish flesh.
Besides the obvious (eating), the people of Peru utilize this crop as:
1. as source of Vitamin C in food.
2. as a source to make flour, alcohol and dextrin.
2. as anti aging agent when applied on the skin especially the face.
3. as medicine to relieve headaches and use to treat skin rash.
Potato cultivation in Peru will be found in Peruvian Plateau, giving an average yield of 9.4 tons per hectare. Other areas planting the Peruvian potatoes are:
1. Huanuco which is the main potato producer in Peru
2. Junin- Puno (Lake Titicaca) has the largest area cultivated
3. La Libertad (Trujillo) mainly supplies to the North