Harvest Appeal 2016 – the power of potatoes
10 October 2016
Today, in rural areas in Bolivia, as many as one in five people are malnourished. For children, malnutrition can lead to stunted growth and a potentially irreversible loss of weight and height. Almost 40 per cent of children in rural Bolivia suffer from stunting.
Potatoes beat hunger
Potatoes are a staple crop in Bolivia, and have been for centuries. Many of the families we’re working with in the high Altiplano plains struggle to grow much in the harsh conditions. But most families are able to grow a few potatoes.
Once harvested, potatoes can be made into chuño. To make chuño, potatoes are left outside in freezing overnight temperatures for several nights in a row. Once frozen, the skins are removed. Chuño can then be kept for several years and are a good way of surviving when other crops have run out.
Eight things you should know about the humble potato
- There are about 5,000 different varieties of potatoes worldwide. 3,000 of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia.
- Potatoes come in many different colours: white, orange, red, or even purple.
- Potatoes are the world’s fourth largest food crop.
- Potatoes have more potassium in them than bananas. Potassium can lower the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
- The potato was the first vegetable to be grown in space.
- During the Second World War, fish and chips were the only food not to be rationed in the UK.
- The heaviest potato grown in the UK weighed a hefty 4.98 kg (10 lb 14 oz).
- The world's largest potato chip was made by Pringles in 1990, measuring 23 inches in diameter – that’s over half a metre.
Harvest Appeal – bigger, better potatoes
This Harvest, we’re working with families in Bolivia to help them make their own organic pesticides and fertilisers to improve the quality and quantity of their potato crop.
But for a healthy diet, as with anything in life, the key is variety.
We’re also helping families to build vegetable gardens and greenhouses so they can grow other vegetables like chard, spinach, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce.