Peru: Cradle of potato, treasure for world food security

12:30 | Lima, May. 27.

Peru is proud to be the center of origin and cradle of thousands of varieties of potato —an ancient tuber that has fed humanity for centuries.

From snowy Andes to lush coasts, potatoes are grown indiscriminately in the mountains' towns, which host 95% of national production, says a report published on El Peruano Official Gazette on Monday.

Among these varieties, "native or colorful potatoes" stand out —an invaluable treasure that Peru contributes to the world in terms of food security.

Potato chain specialist at the General Directorate of Agricultural Development and Agroecology of the Agrarian Development-Irrigation Ministry (Midagri), Miguel Quevedo, highlighted the economic importance of this tuber for Peru because production gross value reached S/8.314 billion (US$2.235 billion). It accounts for 10.5% of total agricultural production.

In terms of productivity, Arequipa and Ica regions stand out, with average yields of 33.5 and 32.2 tons/hectare, respectively.

Sustainable production

Sustainable food production is part of the triple challenge facing the world to feed a growing population in a context of climate change and scarce resources, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

By 2050, demand for food will expand 70% due to population growth, which might reach 9.7 billion people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It implies high pressure on agriculture and natural resources.

The growth of agricultural productivity is a key piece to meeting the sustainable development objective, according to the second statement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Zero Hunger. Yet many developing countries face increasing variability in crop productivity.


In Peru, more than 711,000 families of small producers, among 19 regions, grow potatoes.

The areas of greatest production are located in Puno, Huanuco, Cusco, Cajamarca, Huancavelica, and Junin regions. This crop not only nourishes the population but also energizes regional economies, generating more than 25 million wages per year.

"There is a large campaign, which begins with sowing in August and ends with harvesting in June. The small campaign (including risk) begins between July and August in Andean valleys. That mostly ends in December and January. The remarkable aspect is that potatoes are planted and harvested 365 days a year," the specialist indicated.

With approximately 3,000 varieties unique in shapes, flavors, colors, and textures, Peruvian potatoes have a great capacity to adapt to adverse climatic conditions.

"They have different vegetative cycles, skin colors, textures, flavors, and even culinary characteristics," he added.


This biodiverse treasure not only feeds Peru but also contributes to global food security and offers endless culinary possibilities to delight palates around the world.

Currently, Peru exports around 10 potato varieties, mainly the yellow ones (pre-cooked and frozen), plus the native ones.

"Value-added varieties are shipped abroad in the form of colored chips to Europe, plus vodka made from two native varieties," he indicated.

Regional economy

Potatoes are not only potentially nutritious but also generators and driving forces of regional economies in producing areas.

Last year alone, more than 25 million wages were generated. Potatoes are sown from 200 meters above sea level, but native varieties are grown higher than 3,000 m.a.s.l.

Peru leads the production of this Andean tuber in Latin America, with a yield obtained last year equivalent to 5.4 million tons, according to Midagri.


Published: 5/27/2024