This year, the drought has caused significant damage to agriculture in Russia, especially in the potato crop. In the Southwest of the United States, drought is a constant problem, so what is now happening in this region with potatoes is interesting and relevant for the farmers of our country.
On August 9, 2021, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a new report. Its authors stated that the weather in the Southwest of the United States will very soon rise by 2 degrees, and in the coming decades, drought will become more frequent. An increase in extreme rainfall is also forecast, which could lead to flooding, as evidenced by this summer's weather anomalies: extreme rainfall in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Against this backdrop, Utah Indian scientists and indigenous community leaders have launched a campaign to reintroduce a drought-tolerant potato known as Solanum jamesii as a possible food solution for people affected by climate change.
This species is able to grow in the most arid conditions and accumulates three times more protein and twice more calcium than the potatoes we are used to. It can also remain dormant for many years in dry conditions, and withstand extreme cold conditions.
According to Lisbeth Lauderback, curator of anthropology at the Utah Museum of Nature, the plants were cultivated by indigenous peoples, including the Hopi, more than 11 years ago.
Utah Diné Bikéyah, a non-profit organization (whose mission is to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of the ancestral lands of Native Americans) is implementing a project to grow "the potatoes of their ancestors." Traditionally, the Indians take good care of potato plants and especially value them. With the support of scientists and the indigenous population, this type of potato has every chance of recovery.