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Chinchero, Peru. Although the potato has become the fourth largest crop of the world, ulluco and some of the other “unknown” tubers are equally popular in its homeland in the Andes. Here, potatoes (in bowl) and ulluco (in basket) are being prepared together for a stew. (N. Vietmeyer)


promising for the uplands of Africa and China. All in all, the Andes has much to give the high-altitude regions of the tropics, and ulluco is a good example.

Industrialized Regions. Ulluco will probably be popular wherever it becomes available. In Europe, North America and Japan, for example, it would be beautiful in supermarket displays, and could prove to be a profitable specialty crop. The tuber's small size could be a marketing asset—rather than a drawback, as with other roots. Because of the variety and brilliance of their colors, they could be sold as a mixed blend rather than as a uniform product.

Despite this potential, ulluco may not be an easy crop to transplant to high latitudes. Most of the easily accessible types in Peru and Ecuador probably are limited by virus infections and daylength restrictions. Nonetheless, given concentrated research, ulluco could almost certainly be cultivated in high-latitude regions; researchers have already cultivated it in greenhouses at the latitudes of Vancouver, Canada (50° N), and Helsinki, Finland (60° N), as well as in open field conditions in England.5

5 Information from T. Johns and A. Rousi, respectively.


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