End-of-year celebration

December 2008

To mark the end of the International Year of the Potato, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations unveils at its Rome headquarters in December a month of events and displays.

The celebration begins on 11 December when more than 350 Rome schoolchildren take a guided tour, entitled Coltivare per crescere ("grow to grow"), of an end-of-year Potato Exhibition assembled in FAO's glass-domed atrium. They will learn about the potato's history, its nutritional benefits, and its social and cultural significance, and about agriculture in general.

The following day, IYP's Informal International Steering Committee will meet to review the Year's achievements and discuss prospects for potato development beyond 2008. Formed in March 2007 to guide implementation of IYP, the committee includes representatives of international organizations, governments, producers and the potato industry.

Following the meeting, the IYP Potato Exhibition will be officially inaugurated. The exhibition consists of eight separate displays:

1. Odyssey of the potato

Interview with Pamela Anderson (MP3, 2min 28sec, 1.7 MB)
The International Potato Center's travelling exhibition, "The odyssey of the potato", will be opened by CIP's Director-General, Pamela Anderson. The exhibition, which was shown in 10 countries during 2008, illustrates the origins of the potato in Peru, its dissemination worldwide, and its important role today in food security and economic development.

2. From the Andes to Oceania: the magic voyage of the potato

Interview with Josef Parente (MP3, 1min 33sec, 1.07 MB)
Donated for the end-of-year event by the Regional Agency for Rural Development (ERSA) of northern Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia region, the exhibit will be introduced by ERSA's managing director, Josef Parente. The display, in Italian, explores how traditions, culture, natural resource availability and economics have moulded potato production around the world.

3. A tribute to the potato

Interview with Tadayuki Noguchi (MP3, 3min 13sec, 1.07 MB)
Peru's Deputy Permanent Representative to FAO, Felix Denegri, will introduce a series of paintings by Japanese artist Tadayuki Noguchi. For more than 25 years, Noguchi has captured in watercolours and oil paintings the daily life of potato growers in the central highlands of Peru, emphasizing their agro-ecological and cultural legacy.

4. Viva Patata

Eric Bonnel, Director of Research and Development at Germicopa, one of France's leading potato breeding companies, introduces the "Viva Patata" display. In French, the display consists of 20 panels on the history, geography and culinary properties of the pomme de terre, and photographs by Sylvie Roche and Robert Gernot.

5. Winners of the IYP World Photography Contest

Also on display will be winning photographs from the IYP World Photography Contest, which attracted some 2000 entries from 90 countries. The winning entries came from Belarus, China, the Netherlands, Peru and the Philippines.

6. Painting by Pasquale Basile

Antonella Cassisi, of the Committee for Human Rights and Social Sciences of the Italian Commission for UNESCO, will introduce a painting by the renowned Italian artist Pasquale Basile.

7. Historic books on the potato

8. Potato plants

FAO's David Lubin Memorial Library has mounted a display of historical books on the potato from its own collection. The display includes 22 books, the earliest dating back to 1912, covering aspects such as origins and diffusion, production, harvest, varieties, biotechnology, and pests and diseases.
The International Year's guest-of-honour, Solanum tuberosum, will also be present – in a box of young potato plants grown by the FAO Gardener, Slavomir Nitov.

FAO's end-of-year celebration has been organized with the support of Italy's National Union of Potato Producer Associations (UNAPA), the Assessorato Agricultura Regione Lazio (Rome), the embassies to Italy of Japan and Peru, Simmetrie & Partners of Bologna, Italy, and Pengue SRL Allestimenti.