Quechua farmers in Peru grow some 1 400 varieties of native potatoe.
The event in Cusco has gathered scientists, farmers and businessmen working with potatoes from all over the world.
– The congress gives me a unique opportunity to update my knowledge about potato and, in particular, about conservation of potato biodiversity, says Pawel Chrominski, senior scientist at NordGen, who is participating in the potato congress.
Pawel is attending plenary sessions as well as technical sessions which are more focused on specific subjects like conservation of genetic resources, potato diseases, climate change and its impact on potatoes. A trip to Potato Park outside Cusco is also on the agenda. In the park, Quechua farmers cultivate about 1400 varieties of native potatoes. The farmers will share with the congress participants the knowledge about in situ conservation of Andean potato genotypes.
Pawel Chrominski points out the importance of the contacts made during the congress.
– The collaboration between institutions is crucial in the work on potato conservation. The contacts made during the congress give me a possibility of exchanging knowledge, planning and conducting common projects with colleagues from world’s famous research centers like e.g. Potato International Center, James Hutton Institute, and many others, he says.
Many of the participants are also interested in the activities of NordGen. Our task of conserving plant genetic resources, not only in the Nordic countries but also internationally, through the management of Svalbard Global Seed Vault, has led to many interesting discussions.
– Peru’s most valuable potato genetic resources from the region of Cusco were actually deposited in the Seed Vault in form of true seeds in 2015, Pawel Chrominski says.