El Perú tambien destaca por variedad en producción de camote


Estamos acostumbrados a mencionar las miles de variedades de papa que alberga nuestro territorio, pero poco recapacitamos sobre la asombrosa diversidad del humilde y dulce camote que se da en estas tierras, donde es cultivado desde hace unos diez mil años.
En nuestro país se han detectado más de 2.000 variedades. El camote crece a lo largo de la costa, especialmente en Cañete, Huacho, Barranca, Pativilca (Lima) y Áncash. Se cultiva también en los valles interandinos y la selva.
Al África llegó a través de proyectos internacionales para combatir la desnutrición y por allá se le conoce como “cilera abana”, que significa simplemente “Protector de los niños”. Y es que se trata de un producto altamente nutritivo, de bajo costo, una extraordinaria alternativa para la alimentación infantil por su valioso contenido de carbohidratos, proteínas y caroteno, además de una buena concentración de vitamina C, potasio, hierro y calcio.
Es uno de los pocos productos alimenticios agrícolas que contiene Metionina, uno de los aminoácidos esenciales para la vida. Tiene propiedades medicinales, pues combate las infecciones de la piel, las várices, es antiinflamatorio, se dice que retarda el envejecimiento y protege contra el cáncer, entre otras enfermedades.
Pese a sus bondades consumimos apenas 7 kilos anuales per cápita (por persona). Como si no fuera suficiente, las hojas tienen también proteínas y hacen muy buen forraje. Del tubérculo se puede extraer almidón, harina y transformarse en alcohol. Y hay más. La firma japonesa Toyota ya ha producido con éxito plásticos biodegradables y autopartes a partir de esta planta, tesoro de nuestra agrodiversidad para conservar.


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