According to the executive director of Cite Papa and other Andean Crops, Celfia Obregon Ramirez, potatoes have stopped being just an agricultural crop and have become the great source innovation in Peru, which has the greatest diversity of potatoes in the world and, thus, infinite possibilities to innovate.
“We have 3,500 potato varieties with different properties, contents, and qualities for all types of industries, such as biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry, natural dyes, and making other products that don’t necessarily have to be food products. Other countries are even using potatoes to generate power,” she said.
Peruvian exquisite colored chips continue to surprise the world because they are very exotic, she added, but young Peruvian entrepreneurs have already created other products that may be attractive for the international market, such as the 14 Inkas potato vodka, the first of its kind made with native potatoes.
Celfia Obregon, said she was optimistic an innovative boom had already begun in the hands of entrepreneurs with solid proposals. The CITE Papa, which has an alliance with the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA), the largest potato research center in the world, has obtained the formula to produce beer from potatoes and it is currently looking for a local manufacturer that wants to develop the product commercially, she stated.
In addition, she said Wisconsin has completed a research with Peruvian potato and ecological technology to produce recyclable plastics with potato starch. “We’ll take advantage of the native potatoes that are not edible but have very high rates of dry matter (starch),” she stated.