Andean Root and Tuber Crops (ARTCs)

In addition to the seven species of the cultivated potato (Solanum spp.), and sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), there are other nine species of lesser-known root and tuber crops domesticated in the Andes (ARTCs), which play an important role in nutrition, health and food security for thousands of farmer families in highlands (Table 1). Although none of the ARTCs is within the Annex 1 of the ITPGRFAA, 1173 of the 2529 accessions held in the CIP-genebank were acquired before the entry into force of the CBD (December 29, 1993) which allowing their unrestricted distribution for research, breeding and training purposes. Most ARTCs are clonally propagated and they are conserved in CIP-genebank under in vitro conditions (1341 accessions). Many accessions have been recently acquired by CIP and they are conserved in greenhouses and farmer fields, specifically in a rural community (La Libertad) located above 3800 masl in the department of Junín (11º49 ‘S and 75º18’ W). Only maca and ahipa species are conserved as seeds in cold chambers (-20ºC) due they are species that reproduce sexually.

Main priorities for the conservation, distribution and use of ARTCs in CIP-genebank are (i) to reduce the number of accessions conserved in field and greenhouse; (ii) to identify and eliminate duplicates and redundant materials; (ii) to verify the identity of accessions conserved for more than 20 year under in vitro and filed conditions (true to type); and (iv) to facility the international distribution and use of in vitro materials.

International distribution and use of ARTCs is restricted due to a lack of screening tools to adequately test the phytosanitary status of the collection to meet import permit requirements. Therefore, a major priority for the genebank is the search of donors and the application of proposal for the funding of activities related to the development of phytosanitary tools for the diagnosis of virus in ARTCs. Moreover, the complicated web of ever‐changing regional and international legislation governing the species that no belonging to the Annex 1 of the ITPRGFAA hinder the international distribution of ARTCs. Therefore, national, regional, and international legislation and treaties will be used to clarify this trouble.

Table 1. Current and traditional uses of ARTCs.
Crop Family Habitat altitude Edible part Current uses Traditional proccessing
Oca Oxalidaceae 3000-4000 Tuber Boiled, baked Kaya
Ulluco Basellaceae 3000-4000 Tuber Soups, stews, salads Lingle/chulqui
Mashua Tropaeolaceae 3000-4000 Tuber Boiled, baked Tayacha
Achira Cannaceae 1000-3300 Root Baked, boiled, industrial starch Flour
Yacon Asteraceae 2000-2900 Rhizome Syrup, flour, chips Sugar, juice
Arracacha Apiaceae 1300-3300 Root Boiled, baked, soups, stews, fried, puddings, baby foods Kawi
Ahipa Fabaceae 3900-4500 Hypocotyl Salads
Maca Brassicaceae 1500-3000 Root Baked, salad, juice Liquor, juice
Mauka Nyctaginaceae 2300-3200 Root Boiled, stews, soups, fried, puddings
Iván Manrique
Andean Root and Tuber Crops Conservation Curator
Geographic distribution of accessions of ARTCs maintained at CIP-genebank
Geographic distribution of ARTCs by Genus
Geographic distribution of ARTCs by Biological Status