‘There is no life’ without potatoes for Peruvians, drowned by high prices – News

‘There is no life’ without potatoes for Peruvians, drowned by high prices – News
‘There is no life’ without potatoes for Peruvians, drowned by high prices – News

At the Santa Anita Market, in Lima, days of anguish are experienced due to the rampant rise in the price of potatoes, a staple in the diet of Peruvians, which is increasingly inaccessible to the poorest.

“The sale is bad. People don’t want to buy anymore. If there are no potatoes, there is no life for Peruvians,” said Sonia Alanya, a merchant in Santa Anita, a bustling wholesale market in eastern Lima that receives about 1,500 tonnes a day. of 20 varieties of potatoes, to AFP.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, each Peruvian eats an average of around two kilos of potatoes a week, but prices for this tuber have tripled in recent months as a result of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

The yellow potato, the main ingredient of the emblematic dishes of acclaimed Peruvian cuisine, such as the “causa limeña”, or a simple puree, is already worth up to eight sols (US$ 2) a kilo, a price that thousands of Lima residents cannot afford. .

Not long ago, it cost 2.5 soles (US$0.60) in supermarkets and retail markets in this capital with 10 million inhabitants.

“We are all worried about the increase (…). The potato is important, it’s like air,” says another trader, Sonia Yangale, 39, in conversation with AFP.

– “To the top” –

A Peruvian family of four must now set aside around 240 soles ($60) a month to maintain their potato consumption. Today, the average urban salary is 1,505 soles, approximately US$376.

“The price of potatoes started to rise progressively five months ago, but now it’s reaching the top,” seller Herlinda Chamoro, 52, told AFP.

In official statistics, the rise in this staple food has far outstripped inflation. Since January, the price of yellow potatoes has risen 39.9%, and white potatoes, 24.9%, while the CPI has accumulated a variation of 6.13%.

Peru has more than 3,500 types of potatoes, “the largest variety in the world”, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, and more than 700,000 families live from their cultivation.

– “The crisis worsens” –

At the popular San Felipe de Surquillo Market in southern Lima, there is also concern.

“For us, the potato is a tuber that should not be missing from our table”, but there is no other solution than to “reduce consumption”, laments housewife Lucía Adrianzén, 69, in an interview with AFP.

The rise in potatoes also affects the gastronomic business in a country with more than 200 thousand restaurants, with prices to suit all budgets.

“Everything is cooked with potatoes, (but) we cannot increase the menu, despite the increase”, because sales would fall, explains the cook of a frequented restaurant in Mercado San Felipe, Rayda Sayas, to AFP.

“The crisis is worsened by not having much planting, and that’s because of the fertilizers”, adds Sayas.

“Now, we have to look for other alternatives,” such as sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, or lentils, says Martha Guerreros, another 61-year-old housewife.

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© Agence France-Presse

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: life potatoes Peruvians drowned high prices News

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