Peru's Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (Midagri) projects the country's potato exports could reach $ 5 million this year. "In 2019, the country exported 815 tons of potatoes, in 2020 it exported 17,160 tons despite the pandemic, and we estimate Peru will export up to 18,000 tons of potatoes in 2021," stated Juan Miguel Quevedo, a specialist of the Midagri potato chain, within the framework of the ministry's "Papa Pa'Ti, Lo Bueno Se Comparte" campaign held yesterday, on the sixteenth anniversary of the National Potato Day.
According to Quevedo, US demand for Peruvian potatoes has grown, mainly in their processed, precooked, and frozen presentations. Meanwhile, the European markets prefer native and processed Peruvian potatoes.
Quevedo also highlighted that Bolivia had become one of the main buyers of fresh potatoes produced in the regions of Puno, Arequipa, Cusco, and Apurimac. “Last year Bolivia purchased a record 16,000 tons of fresh potatoes from us for the industry to peel, freeze, and sell them to Bolivia's growing fast-food restaurant sector, as their local potato varieties have a lot of sugar content,” he said.
Vodka made out of Peruvian potatoes
Midagri also highlighted that in recent years Peru has begun to produce vodka out of native potatoes from the southern region of Huancavelica and that it had good demand from stores and supermarkets in the United States.
This potato has also been used to make medicinal alcohol in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; Peru has had 2 million cases and more than 180,000 deaths so far.
Quevedo stated that the International Potato Center (CIP), which is based in Lima, has helped the country to identify some 70 native varieties suitable for frying, which have already been registered in the Registry of Commercial Cultivars.
These varieties include potatoes with yellow, red, purple, and blue pulp, in high demand by companies that process them as snacks for export.