Generating innovations for the competitive development of potato in Peru
In Peru, potato is the main crop in the Andean region and for small producers, for whom it is an important source of income and food, and also a way to preserve ancestral customs. The INCOPA Project (Innovation and Competitiveness of the Potato) of the International Potato Center (CIP), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in alliance with a series of public and private partners, is demonstrating that research and development can go hand in hand to obtain effective impact at the small producers level. The project effectively applies the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) that promotes working with the potato chain actors and R&D organizations for linking research to market chain innovation. The objective is to improve the competitiveness of selected market chains and enable the effective participation of small-scale farmers. The results obtained refer to (1) commercial innovations or new products (selected fresh native potatoes, colored potato chips, yellow mashed potato and selected white chuño or tunta), (2) institutional innovations or new rules and norms (public-private alliances, National Potato Day, Potato Wholesale Commerce Law and the Tunta Technical Norm, among others), (3) technological innovations (post-harvest management, production of healthy seed and sustainable potato production technologies, among others). The evidence indicates that native potatoes’ value and their appreciation as cultural heritage is essential for small producers. Their commercialization enables producers to obtain prices 20% above the prices offered by traditional channels, as well as better performance by hectare (from 10 to 14 tm/ha) and quality improvement.