PERU

The humble potato is now being billed as a super tuber that could have broad implications for the world's food supply. Researchers, led by Carlos Arbizu at the International Potato Centre in Lima, believe that the root has a great potential to serve as a world food, considering its nutritional properties. The potato could also be a viable food alternative for poor communities throughout the world.

Scientists at the Centre's earthquake-proof Potato gene bank are currently studying nine distinctly Andean species of potatoes and predict that at least some of the species could, if properly managed and marketed, become important crops elsewhere. The Andean potatoes are different from the usual potatoes in terms of colour, skin texture and size. While some are purple, others are red, orange or yellow. The plus point of these potatoes are that they are quite sturdy and survive the most difficult conditions: poor mountain soil and altitudes as high as 12,000 feet.

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