The Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation of Peru (Midagri) and the Ministry of Rural Development and Lands of Bolivia (MDRyT) reported that they were working together on biodiversity and climate-smart good practices to improve the productivity of small potato producers.
"These climate-smart practices should be applied to strengthen the availability of food in rural areas for family farming. The market should also recognize them as a differentiated value so the small farmers of both countries can generate better income,” stated the coordinator of the International Potato Center (CIP), Paola Flores, in the virtual conference 'Production, Transformation and Promotion of Potato Consumption.'
Flores said their goal was to increase the availability of potatoes in the domestic market, the application of technical assistance methodologies for the awareness, use, conservation, and recovery of potato seeds to increase the supply of family farming.
She also said that the production cycle of the potato value chain in both territories must be improved, that the actions being developed by the international cooperation partners should be made public, and the capacities of the personnel should be strengthened through the exchange of national and international experiences.
The coordinator of the National Program for Roots and Tuberoses of the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA), Noemi Zúñiga, highlighted that the potato was the third most important food crop in the world, after wheat and rice, due to its contribution in calories, high production, and easy handling.
"The potato is Peru's main food product with an average annual planting area of 310,000 hectares and an average yield of 14 tons per hectare," the official stated. Approximately 40% of the area is cultivated with autochthonous and native varieties and the other 60% is cultivated with hybrid varieties that, in the very few favorable growing conditions in the high Andean zone, produce high yields of more than 25 tons per hectare, she stressed.