Although the potato originated in the Andes, recently uncovered DNA evidence indicates that varieties grown around the world today were developed mainly from Chilean cultivars. While the Andean potato predominated in Europe in the 1700s, germplasm introduced from Chile became predominant in the 1800s.
Chile is the sixth biggest potato producer in Latin America, with a record harvest in 2006 of almost 1.5 million tonnes, on a par with the country's output of maize and wheat. Although potatoes can be grown throughout Chile, production is concentrated in the provinces between Coquimbo, in the north, and Chiloé (including Chiloé Island, where it was already cultivated in pre-Colombian times).
More than half of Chile's potatoes are eaten fresh (consumption is estimated at 51 kg per capita per year, almost unchanged since 1990), while around 10 percent is processed, and 15 percent is used as seed potato. By value, seed potato accounts for almost half of the country's potato exports, destined mainly for Brazil and Venezuela. (Source: International Year of the Potato)