[permaculture] In pictures: The Potato, a slideshow from the BBC
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lflj at intrex.net
Mon Jun 16 22:23:25 EDT 2008
In Pictures: The Potato
A Slideshow from the BBC
The humble potato in all its thousands of varieties is gaining more and more importance as a food source for developing
nations, and the UN has declared 2008 the international year of the potato.
The tubers were first cultivated on the Altiplano of modern-day Peru and Bolivia, and after being introduced to Europe
around in the 16th Century, potatoes are now the world's third biggest staple food.
More potatoes are grown in developing countries than in the developed countries, providing poor nations with valuable
food and some income.
One of their big attractions is that potatoes provide higher yields in less time than other staple foods.
Amid the growing food crisis, potato prices have also remained relatively stable as they are not traded much across borders.
When boiled, a single medium-sized potato contains about 3g of protein, half the daily adult requirement of vitamin C,
and substantial amounts of vitamin B, as well as iron, potassium and zinc.
Pre-Incan cultures and the Incas used the freezing night temperatures and the hot sunshine of the daylight hours to
dehydrate and freeze-dry potatoes, a process that is still used today.
About 130 countries are potato producers, growing a total of 315 million tonnes.
China now is the world's largest potato producer, growing 70 million metric tonnes in 2006, but potatoes are
increasingly popular across Asia.
Still, experts say it has yet to realise its full potential as a global food source.
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