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Peru's National Potato Day rescues the country's native varieties

The National Potato Day, which is celebrated on May 20 and was established in 2005, has served to rescue Peruvian native potatoes from extinction, said the executive director of the Center for Technological Innovation of the Potato and other Andean Crops (CITE Papa), Celfia Obregon Ramirez.

In 2004 the consumption of potatoes in Peru was 60 kilos per person per year, but now, thanks to the National Potato Day and the promotional campaigns that take place in that framework, per capita consumption has increased to 90 kilos, she added.

Celfia Obregón also said that it wasn't enough for Peru to have more than 3,000 potato varieties if they didn't enter the market. Under that logic, she said, farmers have begun planting, multiplying, and conserving native potatoes.

She also said that adding the power of potatoes to the power of the market would allow articulating organized producers. "We'll save our native potatoes, which were in danger of extinction, using the market's logic."

She also stated that they had developed a business model called "Buy from the fields" through the non-governmental organization Aders Peru, which offers selected and classified potatoes, articulating small producers that are organized with supermarkets, large restaurants, and other businesses.

"This project made it possible to market potatoes that have a colorful pulp and that were previously unknown in the cities and that nowadays are everywhere," she added.

The director of CITE Papa stressed that after overcoming a period of crisis in the sector (loss of biodiversity, low productivity, loss of ancestral knowledge, lack of organization to access the market, and decrease in consumption), today the country's potato sector is a growing sector.


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