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Apr 12, 2012

In Peru Two New Potato Varieties Provide Food as Other Native Varieties Suffer from Late Blight Disease

On 12 April 2012 CGIAR Consortium Office provided a press release on the successful release of two new potato varieties in Peru that are combating climate change and late blight disease.  These varieties were developed by the International Potato Center (CIP) with assistance from the government of Peru.  These two new potato varieties have been able to withstand the late blight disease that has been attacking the potatoes in Peru’s Cusco and Paucartambo regions since 2010.

Peruvian potato farmers
with Pallay Poncho and Puka Lliclla varieties
Cusco region, Peru
Photo: CIP
The two varieties are Pallay Poncho and Puka Lliclla.  They are resistant to the fungus known as late blight disease.   According to CIP potato breeder Stef de Haan, these two varieties were released in 2009-10.  Their yield has been approximately eight times greater than 150 native potatoes from the Cusco region.  

While the native varieties being devastated by disease, the introduction of these two new varieties has “made the difference between having enough to eat, or not.”  Both varieties were were developed by CIP with collaboration from Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and its National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA).  Research on them began in 2003 after late blight wiped out the native potato harvest of a large farming community in Paucartambo.  It was unusual for this to occur given the high altitude of Paucartambo.  This was the first indicator that climate change was having an impact of native potato varieties. 

For more see: 
"Improved potato varieties ensure Peruvian communities have enough to eat," CGIAR Consortium Office, 12 April 2012. 

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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