TRADE AND MARKE T ING CIP asks international cooperation to realise T he International Potato Centre CIP (Centro Internacional de la Papa) was established in the Peruvian capital of Lima in 1971. The object of the Institute is to maximise the agricultural possibilities of the potato and other root and tuber vegetables such as sweet potatoes in developing countries. The organisation’s focal points are poverty alleviation, food availability guarantees and a better management of the natural genetic sources in areas such as the Andes. The CIP is active in more than thirty countries. In the Lima headquarters, the CIP maintains a unique gene bank that holds more than five thousand wild and bred potato varieties. As the CIP’s objective links up perfectly with the millennium objectives of the United Nations, one of the focal points of the ‘Year of the Potato’, it is no more than logical that the Institute is doing the pioneer work. CIP director Dr. Pamela Anderson explains why during the ‘Potato science for the Poor’ congress in Cusco. What was the reason for you to organise a congress about potato research for the poor? The most important reason is that we are being faced with enormous challenges in this day and age. One of the current trends in world food growing is the increase of both the production and the consumption of potatoes in third world countries. In Africa alone, the potato acreage between 1994 and 2004 increased by 120 percent and in a big country like China the acreage has increased by 50 percent in the past 10 years. India is expected to double its potato production in the coming five to ten years. Since 2005, more potatoes have been planted and harvested in the third world than in the industrialised countries. I don’t see any reason why this trend should change. What exactly do you mean by that? It is no longer an individual action by just a few farmers in just a few countries, but is a worldwide trend. You can see that many governments are investing in potatoes. Well, between you and me, these are wonderful opportunities for the potato. I have a few comments to make, however. There are developments that could undermine this trend. I see climate change as an enormous danger for the size of the yields. We are not yet ready to solve that problem. To be able to continue the positive trend to more potato growing, a lot of work needs to be done. I am thinking of adapting the growing methods to climate change, for example, but also of responding to the threat of all kinds of pests and diseases that may develop. To be ready before the land slides that are going to occur in the coming ten years, we have to take action now so that we will have an international research and development community ready. We will then jointly be able to lead the way through the big changes that await us. ‘To be able to continue the positive trend to more potato growing, a lot of work needs to be done.’ Who should take the lead in this, do you think? To answer that question is one of the reasons why we, the international potato researchers, have come together in Cusco. When I talk about the new agenda for the poor, CIP is looking ahead at what will be necessary and who will take the lead to do that. But we cannot work out that agenda and go ahead without the entire international research world. We are trying to do this by working together as a group. McCain’s sponsoring the ‘Year of the Potato’ is a good sign that multinationals are taking more responsibility in setting up new strategic collaborative relationships. This goes for Research & Development, but also for the exchange of information, cultivation and marketing. What this is about is that the entire chain develops. Only then can the potato continue to play an important role in developing countries. But we are not there yet, not by a long shot. It is not without reason that the United Nations have drawn up the millennium objectives. 4 Potato World 2009 • number 1 Pagina 3

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