Monday, November 15, 2021

Potato Groove: Where did it start, how did it spread around the world?

Potato Groove: Where did it start, how did it spread around the world?

In 1957, French philosopher and literary critic Rola Barth called Chips a "patriot." One hundred years ago, potato blight wiped out half of Ireland's population in just a few years. At present, China, India, Russia, and Ukraine are the major potato-producing countries in the world.

Along with potatoes, the internal relations of these countries are also complicated. However, none of these countries can claim to have their own potatoes. Potato cultivation in the Andes of South America 8,000 years ago? Was done. It was brought to Europe after 1500. From here it spread west and north and reached America.

The story of the potato

Food historian Rebecca Earl says, "Potatoes are found all over the world and everyone remembers them as their own." Farmers and consumers do not pay much attention to the place of its origin.

Potatoes are claimed to have originated in the United States, Italy, and Peru. But the story of potatoes is not of any one country or geography. Its story shows how people have changed their relationship with land and food in the last few generations.

How many potatoes are needed?

Potato is the fourth most important crop in the world after rice, wheat, and maize. Apart from food grains, potato ranks first. There are reasons behind the success of potatoes due to their nutritional value, easy cultivation, and inland security.

The International Potato Center (CIP) is a perfect place to understand the origins of potatoes. There are all kinds of researches related to potatoes. Built-in a suburb of the Peruvian capital, Lima, the center houses thousands of varieties of potatoes.

Potato cultivation was first started near Lake Titika, about a thousand kilometers southeast of Lima, Peru. Potato soon became the most important food of the indigenous community, including the hill tribes. Lime made by cooling and drying potatoes lasts a very long time.

Outside the United States

The Spanish invasion of 1532 destroyed the Inca community. However, potato cultivation continued even after that. The Spaniards carried it across the sea. So they took tomatoes, avocados, and corn. Historians call it The Great Columbian Exchange. For the first time in history, potatoes arrived outside the United States. Potatoes from the Andes were not easy to grow in Spain and mainland Europe. Geneticist Hernan A. According to Burbano, it took 12 hours to plant potatoes in the Andes.

In Europe, long summer days confuse the potato plants and they do not grow during the summer months. Even the potato plant was difficult to survive in autumn and cold weather. The first decade of potato cultivation in Europe failed.

The best season for potatoes was found in Ireland. In the cold but no snowy weather here, there was ample time for farming. The farmers here prepare a kind of time for the potatoes, which are ready in early summer. From here, potatoes became the main farming of the farmers.

Nutritious food

Farmers valued potatoes because they provided them with significant nutrition. Farming was done on rented land in Ireland. The landlord increased the rent of the land. Thus, farmers were looking for low-yielding crops.

According to sociologist James Lang, there was no other crop that produced more potatoes per acre. It was less labor-intensive and easier to maintain.

Potatoes contain all the major vitamins and nutrients except vitamins A and D. Potatoes have a life-saving ability that no other product has. Every 100 grams of potato contains 2 grams of protein.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, one acre of land was used for potato cultivation and one cow's milk provided food for a family of six to eight people throughout the year. This is not possible with any other product. Farmers in Ireland and the United Kingdom have maintained close ties with potatoes.

Potatoes spread from Britain to Europe. By 1650, the potato had spread to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. By 1740 it had spread to Germany, Poland, and in 1840 to Russia. The farmers divided it according to their convenience and the potato spread.

The benefits of potatoes

During the Austrian War of Succession and the (England-France) Seven Years' War, farmers saw additional benefits from potatoes. It was difficult to tax it and destroy it in war.

Although other crops cannot be hidden, there is no problem with potatoes. Since it can be extracted gradually as per the need, there was no problem of tax to be paid while cultivating. After that, potato farming remained safe even during the war.

Nutrition and strength

According to food historians, the nutritional value of potatoes has helped people to accept them. People started using it to balance their diet with healthy and strong people.

Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations that food grown in a potato field is better than a crop grown in a wheat field. But the work of potato production was started by the farmers rather than the elite. Smith also talked about the nutritional value of potatoes in the 18th century.

At that time people did not even agree on vitamins, proteins, and minerals. In this way, he said, people who eat potatoes are measured to be very strong. After 1700, the French army, which had eaten potatoes, looked a little taller.

It is also claimed that the population of Europe and Asia also increased after the arrival of potatoes. Historians say that between 1750 and 1950, some European nations dominated the rest of the world because of the abundance of potatoes.

In the Andes

The famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 prevented the spread of potatoes. One million people lost their lives due to poor farming and neglect by the London government. One million people fled to the United States, and two million moved to other places.

Within a few decades, Ireland's population had halved. As genetic diversity decreased, so did the risk of disease in potatoes. By the 1750s, Europe had some kind of mix. A member of the team studying the genetic properties of potatoes mixed the ancient Andes variety of potatoes with potatoes imported from south-central Chile.

This potato was suitable for long days in the Southern Hemisphere. For the past few years, agricultural scientists have been searching for ways to improve food security for potato farmers. Ancient varieties of potatoes are still available in the Andes. There are 151 varieties of potatoes found.

These species are the ancestors of the potato, which lost its genetic diversity while satisfying human hunger for hundreds of years. In the 20th century, scientists began to mix the genetic traits of potatoes with wild potatoes. They knew how to increase production capacity.

Climate change

A recent study has shown that increased carbon emissions could reduce potato production by 26 percent by 2085. The genetic makeup of wild species may be able to cope with cold, dry, or warmer climates. Scientists from Europe, America, and Asia have been trying for years to develop a potato with similar resistance.

Only three of the world's top 20 potato growers (US, Peru, and Brazil) are associated with this historical series. But now every country is building its relationship with potatoes. The Chinese government is aggressively promoting potatoes. China wants to make it a major agricultural and staple food. Chinese leaders are now following the strategy of the European aristocracy of the 18th century.

National pride

Peru and Chile are currently at loggerheads over potatoes. Both these countries are making their claim on potatoes. Peru claims that potato farming was first introduced in its country.

A Chilean minister said in 2008 that most of the world's varieties of potatoes were grown in Chile. Charles Christman, a researcher at the International Potato Center, said in a 2007 article in the New York Times that Peru was now the first place to grow potatoes.

Peru built the International Center in 1971 to preserve the potato's genetic heritage in collaboration with the indigenous mountain communities. There is a potato museum in Potato Park in Cusco, in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

The natural environment here reminds us of where the potatoes came from and where they are going. A new picture of the present and the future of the potato can be seen at a distance of two hours from Cusco. About 5,000 species of potatoes can be tasted at the 12,000-foot-high Mill Restaurant.

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