attention should be given to differences in protein content; because the species is leguminous, it seems likely that types with exceptional protein levels in their roots will be found.
Considerable variation in the size and quality of the roots, growth habit, leaf morphology, and ecological preferences have been recorded. There is a need for thorough tests involving a wide range of materials.
Methods used for growing ahipa throughout the Andes should be reviewed and concerted research programs organized to apply modern agronomic knowledge to boost production. Trials of spacing, fertilization, pest control, irrigation, and other cultural requirements are needed, with particular attention to the effect of intensive management on the culinary quality.
High moisture content makes ahipa tubers shrivel and lose condition more quickly than other root crops. Improved methods of storage and transportation are needed, as well as, perhaps, cultivars with a thicker epidermis.
The nodulation requirements should be studied in detail, along with identification of the specific symbiotic organisms.
Ahipa has promise for reducing the daylength sensitivity of related species. Hybrids between ahipa and jicama (which is very sensitive to daylength variations) might produce a valuable new man-made crop that expands the range of both parents and whose root growth might be independent of latitude and season.
The pods deserve research attention as well. It is thought that some varieties contain almost no insecticide, at least when green. There is the possibility that these could constitute a source of protein-rich food. Ahipa then would simultaneously provide a nutritious green vegetable and a valuable tuber crop. Research might also identify when insecticide develops in the pods or seed. If harvested before that, all types might be used as green vegetables.
Botanical Name Pachyrhizus ahipa (Weddell) Parodi (Also spelled Pachyrrhizus ahipa.)
Synonym Dolichos ahipa Wedd.
Quechua: ajipa, asipa
Aymara: villu, huitoto
Spanish: ahipa, ajipa, achipa (South America); dabau (Ecuador); fríjol chuncho (Bolivia, Peru), judía batata, poroto batata (Argentina)
German: andine Knollenbone