Today, technicians from the Centro de Investigacion, Education y Desarrollo (CIED) are assisting local farmers to reconstruct about 10 hectares of the ancient farms, the remnants of which still cover over 80,000 hectares. Current potato yields from these farms are more than double the yields from conventional fields in the region. The system is special in that it requires neither modern equipment nor fertilizers to be productive.
What good is it? In drought conditions, canal water slowly reaches potato roots through soil capillary action. When it's too wet, the furrows drain excess water. Temperature extremes are minimized and soil fertility is optimized (see figure below).
The system's primary cost is for labor to dig the canals that surround the soil platforms. Once the system is in place, periodic maintenance is required, as for any regular ol' potato field in Idaho.