Welcome to Potatoland

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There is no doubt whatsoever about the magnificence of Peruvian gastronomy. There is such a rich mixture of influences that make our food one of the most unique and tasty in the world.

Besides our heritage and culture, our great gastronomic fusion has definitely put us on the map worldwide. I have even heard that we have more than 365 varieties of dishes. That means a different dish every day for an entire year.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

Our three regions and the different types of weather are sure the ones to blame for such a rich diversity. Did you know that Peru has more than five thousand varieties of potatoes? Globally, we are considered the leading producer of such biodiversity. The Cuzco region is one of the places within our country with the vast majority of diversity averaging about fifteen hundred different native potatoes.

“I have even heard that we have more than 365 varieties of dishes. That means a different dish every day for an entire year.”

Now, currently, we are undergoing a major nationwide situation with demonstrations from potato growers, increasingly becoming somewhat violent. Now, this is my question to the authorities or to the Minister of Agriculture. Why don’t we take advantage of such biodiversity potential globally? How did we get to this point where growers are becoming discontented, frustrated and mistreated?

Such lack of future vision coming from this government is just annoying. Once again the lack of planning and the informality on how things get done in our country is costing money and maybe even lives from what I have heard lately.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

An agricultural revolution is needed badly; bringing in the latest technology and establishing workshops and training so that farmers can actually not just make ends meet for themselves and their families, but can actually benefit financially from their land. Haven’t we learned that the Peruvian way will always be the informal way? I was actually hoping that our current President could change the mental chip of our idiosyncrasy as Peruvians but it doesn’t seem that will be happening anytime soon.

If we were to do things the right way we could become one of the leading food suppliers worldwide. Our farmers would definitely be in a much better position financially and socially. Isn’t this part of the so-called social inclusion they’ve been talking about for years? The native Peruvians, who are the majority and unfortunately still the neediest, would feel as if the government actually cares about them this time around. There are plenty of examples of countries that have emerged from extreme poverty and even post-war damage such as Vietnam. Countries like these, in my opinion, are great examples that we should be looking at.

The absurdity of it all is that we actually import potatoes, creating a disruption in the market prices for these products. We are a blessed country and not just because of our cuisine but because of the ingredients we use that can only be grown in our country’s climate and altitudes.

I really hope that the decision makers realize the potential of our land and actually make a historic difference.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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Fernando Calle

Fernando Calle is a Peruvian-born, American citizen who has lived in the USA for over 25 years. He is a Cardiovascular Technologist and Sleep Disorder Specialist, having worked for Baptist Health Systems (Florida, USA) where he held the position as Chief Technologist of the Respiratory Disorders Department. After having worked for his own companies (Sleep Services of South Florida and Total Health Diagnostics, also in South Florida), he currently resides in Lima, Peru on a new quest as an English Teacher. Holds the ELT, FCE and ECPE (Cambridge-Michigan) international certificates. Also offers advanced English level courses for business, English Law, Technical English. Specialized in Medical English.