Peru’s ‘potato guardians’ protect native varieties for future generations

HollyWhile it may not have the same ring as Hollywood’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ the Papa Arariwa of Peru, known as the ‘Potato Guardians’, are fighting a cause of their own – to protect and conserve hundreds of native varieties of the staple crop that exist in their fields. Though most potato farmers in the country’s Andes mountains would consider themselves to be Papa Arariwa, and rightly so, a group of small communities who jointly manage and maintain the world’s largest in situ diversity of native potato varieties have made this their life’s work. There are more than 700 local varieties, 400 varieties repatriated by the International Potato Center (CIP) and five wild varieties grown in Parque de la Papa (the Potato Park), which also houses its own genebank containing around 1,400 varieties. More

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