Potatoes: So Familiar, So Much More to Learn



A staple food for the world's population, potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, providing a primary source of energy. They also contain several micronutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Potatoes are a vital part of the global food system and play a critical role in strengthening world food security and alleviating poverty.

Sustainable production of potato can contribute to all four pillars of food security: availability, access, utilization, and stability. Due to its large genetic diversity, and its current cultivation and demand, potato research and innovation can contribute to sustainable agrifood systems and help to achieve Zero Hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Year of the Potato (IYP) in 2008 was a celebration of one of humanity’s most important and universally loved staple foods. In December 2023, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), endorsed the proposal made by Peru regarding the annual observance of the International Day of Potato on 30 May.

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.

A guide to the International Day of Potato 2024
This guide provides a brief history of the potato from its origins in the Andes mountains to a global food staple as well as its profound impact on human beings and farming systems. It’s also a call to action for governments, civil society and non-government organizations, parents and educators to learn more about the potato and how it enriches our lives.

World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2023
This publication offers a synthesis of the major factors at play in the global food and agricultural landscape. Asia leads in the production of potatoes, accounting for 54 percent of the world total.

Access to markets for small actors in the roots and tubers sector. Tailored financial services and climate risk management tools to link small farmers to markets
This report notes that, despite positive results in market linkages and production intensification for roots and tubers, it is necessary to unlock access to credit, and provide small actors with climate risk management tools to cope with climate variability affecting production and prices.

Accelerated vocational training in agriculture curriculum of module on field crop production: potato
This curriculum aims to train young people and introduce them to areas related to potato production. For use in training and technical and vocational education for the age group 14−25.

Strategic analysis and intervention plan for potatoes and potato products in the Agro-Commodities Procurement Zone of the pilot Integrated Agro-Industrial Park in Central-Eastern Oromia, Ethiopia
This plan aims at driving the structural transformation of the Ethiopian economy by creating a better environment for increased investments in agro-processing and allied sectors, such as the potato sub-sector, and focuses on seeds and agro-chemicals as core intervention areas.

Further reading

Other resources


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