International Day of Potato | 30 May

Through its widespread cultivation and consumption, the crop contributes to key objectives of the SDGs, such as achieving zero hunger, promoting sustainable agriculture and advancing economic opportunities. Potatoes are not just a staple in the diets of many people but also provide key opportunities for employment and sustainable economic growth along their value chains.

Why an International Day of Potato?

On 30 May, we spotlight the potato, Solanum tuberosum (L.) – a crop regularly consumed by billions of people. Potatoes are a key crop across diverse farming systems globally, ranging from smallholders producing diverse heirloom varieties by hand in the Andes, to vast commercial, mechanized farms in different continents. Potatoes contribute to the food security and nutrition as well as and livelihoods and employment of people in rural and urban areas the world over.

The Day is an opportunity to build on the International Year of the Potato, which was observed in 2008. The observance will also be used to underscore the importance of the crop to combating hunger and poverty and addressing environmental threats to agrifood systems. The roles of small-scale family farmers, a significant proportion of whom are women, in safeguarding the wide spectrum of the crop’s diversity, will also be recognized, while the cultural and culinary dimensions of the crop’s cultivation and consumption will be celebrated.


News

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Importance as staple, genetic diversity and livelihoods opportunities come under spotlight

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Italian farmers showcase varieties at Rome event to mark International Day of Potato

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World Potato Congress hosts webinar to promote International Day of Potato

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FAO and the government create new varieties to reduce impact of drought and disease

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Recently published booklet highlights significance and calls for action to maximize potential

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The potato, an important crop that is consumed by over one billion people around the world, will be celebrated on 30 May 2024, the first-ever International Day of Potato.


How to participate

Let’s come together to advocate for the potato, savor its multitude of varieties, and champion the farmers who cultivate this essential crop with the earth’s well-being in mind!

International Day Potato FAO
Communication toolkit

Browse the FAO asset bank and download the International Day of Potato visual identity and communication material to advocate for the potato!

Get involved guide

Download the Get Involved Guide for the International Day of Potato 2024 to find out how to participate to the 2024 celebrations!

Tell us about your event

Browse all events that are being organized for the International Day of Potato, let us know your plans and share news and photos of your initiatives.


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The potato journey

Originating in the Andes, the potato sustains the Inca civilization and is revered as the “flower of ancient Indian civilization.”

Brought to Europe in the 16th century, the potato supported the rise of urbanization and fuels the Industrial Revolution.

During the Qing Dynasty, the potato alleviated famine in China, securing its place as an essential crop.

In World War II and subsequent conflicts, the potato’s high yield and resilience provided food security during shortages.

Ireland’s Great Famine of the 1840s is a stark example of how a lack of diversity in the genetic base and cropping systems can lead to disastrous outcomes.

Today, the potato stands as a beacon of food security and a pillar of sustainable agriculture: with more than 5 000 potato varieties offer a genetic wealth to combat pests, diseases, and climate change impacts, guiding sustainable agriculture practices.


Amazing potato-facts you might not know

International Day of Potato FAO
A potato park  

The 12 000-hectare potato park located in the Andes near Cusco, Peru is one of the few conservation initiatives in which local communities are managing and protecting their potato genetic resources and traditional knowledge of cultivation, plant protection and breeding. The Potato Park helps preserve indigenous knowledge and ancient technologies, while ensuring that the production of native varieties remains under local control. 

Potatoes are also used to produce bio-based products

Potato starch is being creatively used as a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics. These materials based on potato proteins and starch can be used for various packaging, like food containers and medicine capsules. Plus, they’re gluten-free and environmentally friendly, making them a smart choice for the food industry. 

International Day of Potato FAO

159

countries cultivate potato

5 000

varieties worldwide

8 000

years and going strong!

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Publications

International Day Potato FAO
Publications
Potatoes: so familiar, so much more to learn

As a global campaign to raise awareness and inspire action has just kicked off, have a look at this selection of FAO publications below to gain better insights into this global common food ahead of the celebration.


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