This article was written as part of the Year-End Reflections.
One of my favourite travel destinations is Peru. I had an opportunity to visit this history-rich country in 2013 after attending Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress in Brazil.
I remember being amazed by the 200 or so varieties of potatoes that were on display during my trip. And I came across The Guardian’s How Peru’s potato museum could stave off world food crisis recently, which talks about scientific studies using 1,367 varieties of potatoes in the Potato Park in Cusco in light of the food crisis.
Yes, you read it right. There is a Potato Park in Cusco. And believe it or not, if we were to visit Lima, the capital city of Peru, we would find a few more types of potatoes at the International Potato Centre – 4,600 varieties in total.
This is simply amazing!
Climate Change Affecting Crop Biodiversity
On a more serious note, let’s talk about climate change, crop biodiversity and food crisis.
According to the data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, we lost about 75% of crop diversity between 1900 and 2000.
Because of this, “as much as 22% of the wild relatives of food crops will disappear by 2055 because of the changing climate.”
Apparently the rate of climate change is so fast that even the resilient potato, which was domesticated 7,000 years ago by ancestors of the Peruvian peasant farmers on the shores of Lake Titicaca, is having trouble adapting.'Climate change, loss of crop diversity, food crisis, starving people in some parts of the world and over-eating in other parts of the world, the picture isn’t so pretty after all.' Dr Suzi Chen Click To Tweet
So with this knowledge in mind, will you be more responsible when it comes to food consumption, particularly during this time of the year?
If nothing else, at the very least, when you see potatoes on your plate next time, have a better appreciation of this humble crop and look at it in a different light. Who knows, it may just be the solution to our food crisis.
P.S Matt Damon did survive Mars on potatoes.