The International Year of the Potato - IYP 2008
Given the projected increases over the next decades in the world’s population, especially in developing countries where pressure on land and water is already intense, a key challenge facing the international community is to ensure food security for present and future generations, while protecting the natural resource base on which we all depend. The potato will be an important part of the efforts to meeting those challenges.
Why potato? Potatoes are a truly global crop, grown on Peru’s mountains, the plains of Northern Europe, China’s Yunnan plateau, Rwanda’s equatorial highlands and subtropical lowlands in India. Potatoes feed the hungry since they provide a primary source of energy for many of the world’s poor and produce more food more quickly, on less land, than any other major crop. Potato production is booming in the developing world, with good potential for further gains in production and consumption.
The International Year of the Potato (IYP) was officially launched at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on 18 October 2007 by the Director-General of FAO. The initiative for an IIYP came in 2005, when Peru and the Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries requested FAO’s collaboration in having an IYP declared. This led to Resolution 4/2005 by the FAO Conference in November 2005, which requested the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to declare the IYP. UNGA, at its 60th session in December 2005, declared the year 2008 the Year of the Potato and invited FAO to facilitate its implementation.
The rational for declaring the Year of the Potato is to raise the profile of this globally important food crop and commodity, giving emphasis to its biological and nutritional attributes, and thus promoting its production, processing, consumption, marketing and trade.
IYP mission is to increase awareness of the importance of the potato as a food in developing nations, and promote research and development of potato-based systems as a means of contributing to achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The observance of IYP will also provide an opportunity to raise awareness – among policy-makers, donors and the general public, especially young people – of the importance of agriculture in general, in addressing issues of global concern, such as food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty and threats to the environment.
IYP challenges and opportunities are to focus global attention on:
- the need to reach the vulnerable with solutions that reduce constraints, create opportunities, improve productivity and reduce risks in the farming systems on which they depend;
- the need to alleviate poverty by increasing incomes and linking farmers to markets;
- the range of actions needed to protect, conserve and utilize potato diversity; and,
- the solutions for sustainable intensification of farming systems that will stop or reverse the loss of natural resources and provide adaptive responses to climate change.
Click here for the IYP web site.