This past Tuesday, the Agriculture Minister in Peru publicly presented a new purple flesh potato variety with higher than normal concentrations of iron and zinc. The potato is believe to become an important help in the fight against child anemia in the Andes.
Agriculture Minister Gustavo Mostajo told Peruvian radio station RPP that the new potato was genetically modified by scientists from the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA). It was given the name “INIA 328-Kulli Papa“. “Kulli” means purple in Quechua, the indigenous language spoken in southeastern Peru.
The new potato variety has exceptional antioxidant capabilities in addition to almost double the iron and zinc content found in commercially produced potatoes.
Iron deficiency anemia in children under three years reaches 46.6% and is a public health problem in Peru, according to official data. In the Andean region of Puno it affects 75.9% of minors.
According to state scientists, “INIA 328-Kulli Papa” is a tuber with a wide range of adaptability that can be planted at an altitude of up to 4,100 meters where inhabitants can produce few crops since at that level many plants do not grow.
The cradle of the potato is situated in the Andes near Lake Titicaca
for the past 7 thousand years . There are believed to be more than 4 thousand different potato varieties in the Andes.