LIMA – Researchers have identified and catalogued 130 varieties of native potatoes in the northern province of La Libertad, officials at Peru’s National Institute of Agricultural Innovation, or INIA, told EFE on Monday.
The catalogue has been a work in progress since 2010 at INIA, the International Potato Center, the Pataz Association and the Chugay District Municipality, where families of that community have collaborated with the project.
The document, to be presented next Friday in its book format, contains photos and a rundown of morphological descriptions, agricultural characteristics, nutritional values and the culinary uses of each and every variety.
It also catalogues information about the abundance of each potato type and has graphic representations of their genetic fingerprints, inspired by the quipu, a device used for calculation, recording events and more, made up of a cotton cord with colorful knotted strings developed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Peru.
Among the spud species shown is the “rebirth” potato used to ease fever, and the “death’s eye,” so named because the deep holes from where it sprouts “look like the eyes of a corpse,” according to the report.
The purpose of the project was to work up a display of the genetic diversity of tubers and also “to hail farmers as the guardians of native potato varieties,” the report said.
The data compiled will be added to the research projects in the National Registry of the Native Potato of Peru.
In La Libertad an average of 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres) of potatoes are sown each year, which amounts to more than 6 percent of the total area of the crop in the Peruvian Andes, according to the report.