Towards a Certificate of Origin for the ancient Canarian potatoes.

In may 1998, at the Agriculture High School of La Laguna University the seminar “Cultivating the potato in the Canaries: biodiversity, history and economic importance” was presented. The participants were Zósimo Huamán, researcher in the Centro Internacional de la Papa (International Potato Centre) (C.I.P., Lima, Peru), Carlos F. Quirós (U.C. Davis), Antonio Macías, Wladimiro Rodríguez and Jaime Gil González ( La Laguna University ). The motivation for the seminar was the result of potato exhibitions, done by the “Alumni Association of the Agriculture High School and a farmer from La Esperanza , since 1992 in the hall of that school. The also did that exhibition at International Agriculture-book and Environment fair (FILAMA), as at the Canarian Agriculture Fairs (Agrocanarias) of 1995 and 1997.

This initiative encouraged the Association for Promotion and Conservation of Tacoronte´s old Alhondiga to organize the “Canarian Colour Potato Week” in September 1998. Taking part:

John G. Hawkes ( Birmingham University , UK ), one of the great botanical explorers (over 60m years searching for potato varieties all over the world); Luis Salazar and José Luis Rueda Sarmiento (C.I.P. Peru); representatives from the Galician Government (Xunta de Galicia), where they already had a Geographic Certificate of Origin (Denominación de Origen Geográfica, D.O.G.), using the Kennebec potato variety; Researchers of La Laguna University and representatives of the Canarian Government.

Resulting to those technical conferences, in October 1998 was created the “Association for the Certificate of Origin, Promotion, Research and Marketing for the Canarian Colour Potato”, chaired by D. Vicente Rodríguez Infante.

With the economic aid from the Food Politics Agency of the Canarian Government, the association carried out the technical research needed to apply the CoO and did the varieties registry. It was directed by the Agronomist Domingo Ríos Mesa, taking part in Jaime Gil González, Antonio Perdomo Molina, Candelaria Galván Rodríguez, Pilar González Rodríguez and Tomás Suárez Encinoso. The title was “ Proposal for regulations of the Certification of Origin ‘Ancient Canarian Potatoes'” , and following criterions for the inclusion of varieties were set up (page 28):

(a) Market presence
(b) Production volume
(c) Belonging to the cultures Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena and Solanum x chaucha.

In the article #1 of the rules, the definition for “Ancient Canarian Potatoes” is: “It is understood as ‘ancient Canarian potato' the potatoes belonging to the species Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena and Solanum x Chaucha, original from the local cultures Terrenta, Negra Yema de Huevo, Bonita Negra, Bonita Blanca, Bonita Colorada, Bonita Llagada, Bonita Ojo Perdiz, Azucena Blanca, Azucena Negra, Colorada de Baga and Borralla , produced using traditional cultivation techniques and set up and packed in the production areas recorded in this regulations.”

The Association contacted to the Island 's Governments (Cabildo), seeking possible candidates of potato varieties to be included in the CoO, with its corresponding technical report. Only answers from La Palma , Lanzarote and El Hierro were received. The absence of answer was interpreted as an absence of ancient potatoes in those islands.

In July 2001, the technical service of Tenerife's island government commissioned the project “Molecular Identification of ancient potato varieties on Tenerife island” (193 pages) to the biologists Oscar Blanco and Ana Crespo, from the department of Vegetal Biology in the faculty of Pharmacy of ‘Universidad Complutense de Madrid'.

In November 2001, the island government of La Palma presented the report titled “The traditional potatoes of La Palma and proposal of the island government about which of these varieties should be included in the future Certification of Origin of the ‘Ancient Canarian Potatoes”.

In the year 2003 the association's name changed to “Association of Ancient Canarian Potatoes”.

In November 2005, the directorship for food and agriculture industry policy, according to the procedures to acknowledge the CoO for the “Ancient Canarian Potato”, sent us the project: Order through which it is acknowledged, as temporary measure, the Certification of Origin for the Ancient Canarian Potatoes”.

Finally, following the regulations and set criterions, according to the need to give priority to this exquisite potatoes, which species is unique in Europe, and depending on a first register of which fulfils those requirements of the CoO, would be already containing in a previous paragraph, as well as the group of Corraleras from La Palma and la Negrita from El Hierro.

Goals of the Association of Ancient Canarian Potatoes:

  1. Workshops for identification of ancient varieties.
  2. Exhibition of existent varieties.
  3. Workshops for potato tasting (wrinkled potatoes).
  4. Founding of the tasting committee.
  5. Seminars (agriculture practices, pest control …) every two years, approximately.
  6. Popularization lectures about the ancient potatoes in Tenerife 's fairs and villages.
  7. At the moment we are looking forward to the approval of the CoO. It would be the first potato CoO in Spain.


•  Eovaldo Hernández P. (Mayo, 2006).
•  Propuesta de Reglamento de la denominación de origen “Papas antiguas de Tenerife”, Tomo I, (Gil et. al, dic. 1999) Revisado, ampliado y corregido por la Asociación Papas Antiguas de Canarias en Febrero de 2004
•  Delegación de Alumnos de la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agraria, Universidad de La Laguna.