Peru Has a New Variety of Potato that Will Help Farmers Weather the Cold

In a country with more than 5,000 potato varieties, the arrival of another one should not really be a big deal. But this is Peru, where the potato was first domesticated and still plays a vital role in national identity.

A trio of CALS scientists has helped extend this rich tradition by introducing a new, frost-resistant variety that can help Peruvian potato farmers contend with difficult growing conditions caused by a changing climate. It’s the latest outcome of a decades-long collaboration with Peruvian researchers that is still going strong.

The three UW scientists — John Bamberg, Alfonso Del Rio, and Jiwan Palta — worked closely with researchers from Peru’s International Potato Center (CIP), with the National Institute for Agrarian Innovation (INIA) and with Peruvian farmers, to develop this new variety called Wiñay. The word means “to grow” in Quechua, one of Peru’s indigenous languages. The frost-resistant potato is long and thin with brown skin and yellow flesh and is grown for the fresh market. It was developed to be cultivated in Peru’s Altiplano at elevations of up to 14,000 feet above sea level.

Palta, a professor of horticulture and plant physiologist with the Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program, says many of the wild potato varieties found in the Altiplano are naturally hardy and can tolerate temperatures down to 14 degrees F.

Fuente: Fresh Plaza

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