Leonardo Chamba H.
Pope. After rice and wheat, the potato is the third most important crop in the world; rich in carbohydrates and also as a source of starch. It represents one of the most valuable contributions of the Andean region to the whole world, as it is one of the most consumed and appreciated food crops, which collaborates in strengthening the food security of all humanity (Midagri-Peru).
Regarding its origin and history, it is known that the potato was domesticated in South America, particularly in Bolivia, between the Titicaca and Poopó lakes, between 10,000 and 7,000 years BC, although the first traces have been found in the Chilca canyon, south of Lima in Peru, dating back 10,500 years. There is controversy over the origin of the potato, but the Peruvian-Bolivian plateau is estimated to be the center of origin of this important crop (Conabio-Mex.).
In reference to the botanical characterization, the potato belongs to the order verandas, family pretty Woman, Genre solano; scientific name solano tuberous L. (Conabio-Mex.). As far as its morphology is concerned, the potato is a succulent, herbaceous and annual plant for its aerial part, and perennial for its tubers (underground stems) which develop at the end of the stolons that arise from the main stem. It is a dicotyledonous species, potentially perennial due to its ability to reproduce by the tubers. It consists of the following main parts: the shoot, the stem, the root, the leaves, the flower, the fruit and the seed, the creeper and the tuber (Espoch, Riobamba).
In reference to the nutritional value, the contribution of the potato for every 100 g of pulp is: calories 95; carbohydrates 21.6 g; protein 1.9 g; fat 0.1 g; it also provides vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin C) and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium) (FAO).
As regards the issue of production and consumption, in 2019 the world production of fresh tubers was 467 million tons, harvested on an area of 22,351 million hectares and an average yield of 20.9 t / ha. The major potato producers (millions of tons) were: China 91,641; 50,871 Indians; Russia 26,219; Ukraine 23,099; 20,562 USA. In the American continent the average yields (t / ha) were of the following order: USA 49.7; Argentina 32.3; Brazil 31.2; Mexico 29.9; Colombia 22.0; Peru 15.8 (Midagri-Peru).
In the year 2020, the area planted with potatoes in Ecuador was 25,924 ha, distributed in the provinces of: Carchi 28.3%; Chimborazo 14.0%; Tungurahua 13.5%; Cotopaxi 12.6%; Pichincha 7.3% and others 24.3%. Production reached 408,313 t, distributed in Carchi 46%, Tungurahua 13%, Cotopaxi 12% and other provinces 29% (INEC, Quito). In 2016 the national average yield of potatoes was 16.5 t / ha, reaching the maximum values at Carchi 24.9; Pichincha 21.2; Tungurahua 20.6. The individual consumption of potatoes in Ecuador is 30 kg / year (MAG, Quito).
In the gastronomy of Loja, the potato is used in the preparation of the following dishes:
• Soups and broths: potato soup with vegetables, potato with noodles, potato with green leaves (chard, cabbage, spinach, etc.); chicken broth, dried meat with potatoes, etc. The variety used today is the “papa chola”, which replaced the traditional “papa bolona”.
• Guinea pig with potatoes: the “papa chaucha”, which is small in size, is preferably used.
• Llapingachos: the “papa chola” is used, both in Loja and in the rest of the towns of the Sierra.
• Fried potato: the “papa cecilia” is used for frying in the shape of “sticks” and served with grilled chicken. Another presentation of fried potatoes is in the form of chifles.