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Focus on... Potato

It's surprising we don't hear more about potato. Often crowded out of the headlines by the big cereals - wheat, rice and maize - potato is actually the third-most important food crop in the world. It is grown in around 100 countries and has provided food security for millions of people over thousands of years.

In this edition of New Agriculturist the power of potato is revealed together with the challenges and opportunities facing producers worldwide. In Bolivia we report on efforts to improve access for rural potato growers to high-value urban markets, and the work to conserve the vast genetic diversity of potato in the highlands of Peru. Also covered are attempts to revamp potato production in famine-stricken North Korea, the emerging market for processed potato chips in East Africa, the challenge of climate change for potato-growing areas, and the ever-present danger of the devastating late blight fungus.

Ever-present danger - late blight

Ever-present danger - late blight

Late blight is still a formidable enemy of potato growers worldwide, able to wipe out entire crops in just a few weeks. Over 150 years since it triggered the Irish Potato Famine, scientists and farmers are still fighting the ever-mutating fungus.

Date published: September 2008

Climate change - can potato stand the heat?

Climate change - can potato stand the heat?

Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall distribution and concentrations of greenhouse gases will affect where potato is grown in the future. But scientists are hopeful it will weather the storm.

Date published: September 2008

Rooting for tubers

Rooting for tubers

In the face of rising food prices, the potato is being promoted in Bangladesh and Peru as a nutritious alternative to more expensive staple foods such as rice and wheat.

Date published: September 2008

Going native: the sweet success of Bolivia's bitter potato

Going native: the sweet success of Bolivia's bitter potato

An initiative to improve sales of a processed potato product in Bolivia has been a runaway success, transforming a traditional 'folk' food into a sophisticated, high-value product.

Date published: September 2008

Popular revolution in potato production in North Korea

Popular revolution in potato production in North Korea

North Korea has the potential to make substantial gains by restructuring its potato industry. An FAO-led project has been helping farmers access improved varieties, clean seed and better storage facilities.

Date published: September 2008

Protecting potato diversity in Peru

Protecting potato diversity in Peru

A pioneering project to document indigenous potato varieties in the highlands of Peru has made some promising discoveries, as well as protecting against biodiversity loss and bio-piracy.

Date published: September 2008

Cashing in on chips

Cashing in on chips

The demand for potato chips (French fries) is booming in East Africa. Policy and financial support for in-country, commercial processing of potatoes into chips, combined with improved supply of suitable potato varieties, could bring about a strong regional chip trade.

Date published: September 2008

 

 

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