Agile Potato for Asia

So2eng

View from the field: Challenges in international agriculture  

Asia today faces a tremendous food security challenge to feed its 4.3 billion people. Many Asian countries are also some of the lowest lying and most vulnerable to the extremes of climate change. Over-intensification from monocropping, including poor irrigation practices, has compromised the quality of arable land. Frequent droughts and  flooding  have  increased  salinity,  degrading  soil  quality  further.  Population growth over the next few decades will continue to be concentrated in cities, and precious farmland will increasingly be lost to roads and buildings. Asian economies and farming systems are inextricably  bound to a small number of cereals, as are Asian diets: more than 500 million of the absolute poor depend on rice. Rice, wheat, and other grains are traded internationally and are subject to market fluctuations, which have caused the price of food to spike dramatically in recent years. Poor populations  also continue  to experience  nutrition  vulnerability  due to low levels of diet diversification with limited micronutrient content and the relatively low economic value of cereals. Asia has the highest concentration of poverty worldwide, and high malnutrition rates among women and children under five are responsible for high levels of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. Economic and social exclusion, largely due to gender, caste, and ethnic discrimination, intensifies the problems of poverty and malnutrition. Strategies to address food and nutrition insecurity here are urgently needed.      

 

Transforming livelihoods with early-maturing potato

Several Asian countries are already diversifying      their      farming      systems while  making  the  intensification  of existing  systems  more  sustainable.  This is helping to increase economic and nutritional   value   and   ease   the   strain of  food   price   inflation.   Early-maturing agile    potato    varieties,    particularly    a 70-  to  90-day  potato  resistant  to  heat and viruses and with good processing quality, are a profitable and nutritious complement   to  low-income   cereals  in sub-tropical lowlands and highlands of South China, North Vietnam, Bangla
desh, India, and the plains of Nepal and East Pakistan. In Central Asia, the crop offers a valid alternative to fallow between two consecutive wheat crops, thus creating huge  opportunities   for  potato  cultiva- tion. It can be adapted to a wide range of cropping systems in subtropical, temperate, and highland environments to help low-income consumers cushion the impact of food price inflation and achieve higher incomes from on-farm and added- value options. These potato varieties provide flexible planting and harvesting times without putting undue pressure on dwindling land and water resources.

 

Stronger alliances and partnerships to enrich and sustain impact    

CIP’s  program  to  promote  early- maturing potato aims to improve systems productivity and farm incomes of at least seven million households throughout the region. Good quality seed or resilient varieties are in short supply in Asia and greatly limit potato production in the region. To overcome this serious bottleneck we will work with local, regional, and national partnerships to  develop  elite,  tropically  adapted bred populations and candidate potato varieties   with  short  growing   seasons of  70–80  days  in  subtropical  climates and  90–100  days  in  temperate  ones. CIP and its partners will make available necessary       early-maturing       varieties with traits for resistance to biotic and abiotic stress, including those required by the market and processing industry, as well as those preferred for home consumption. We will help our partners build  capacity  and  scale  up  the  use of research products for accelerated breeding, improved seed delivery, diversification of value chains, and ecological management practices— especially     more     efficient     use     of       precious water resources. Collaborative research on the early-maturing potato will explore sustainable cultivation practices and the environmental impact of introducing the potato on cereal- based cropping systems of Asia. This program  will  coordinate   closely  with the CGIAR Research Programs (CRP) in which CIP participates, particularly with Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB). We will establish strategic alliances for going to scale   and assess their efficacy  and  return  on  investment. Trade-off analysis in terms of labor, nutrients,    water,    and    other    input use    will    be    measured     to    assess the     beneficial     impact     of     potato- related    interventions     on    the    four key elements of food security: food availability,   accessibility,   utilization, and vulnerability. Agricultural research institutes, universities, and government and  nongovernmental  organizations are    essential    to    the    development and adaptation of technologies and practices to the needs of smallholder farmers, especially poor and female agricultural workers. Studies of value chains and networking with their key actors will help us to identify gaps, bottlenecks,   and   opportunities.      We will cultivate private-public partnership chains for contract farming and buy-back mechanisms to enhance processing of potatoes and ensure income of farmers and buffer years of overproduction. There are opportunities to develop and deliver   intensive   training   to   farmers who need greater awareness and skills of processing requirements through improved technology options that support      agricultural      diversification and strengthened rural institutions engaged in market value chains.    

Tapping the potential    

 

Tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases, the resilient, competitive potato varieties, together with appropriate cropSO2 and system    management    practices,    can be incorporated into diverse cropping systems  of  subtropical  lowland, highland,   and   temperate   regions. Their    specific    postharvest     qualities will address current producers’ and market  needs  as  well  as  food  security for      vulnerable      households.      They can bring new areas under potato cultivation in cereal-based systems and increase overall food productivity. Our interdisciplinary   approach  to  research       for   development    will   contribute    to the analysis and design of ecologically intensive, sustainable agricultural production   systems   involving   potato in  Asia.  Integrative   solutions   will  be a  priority  for  the  region  as  it  braces itself for the anticipated rise in global population, the growing prospect of major   shocks   from   climate   change, and the impacts on society and natural resources from ongoing urbanization and rural dislocation.     The CGIAR Research   Program   on   Roots,   Tubers and  Bananas  is  an  essential  platform for the agile potato. It will make an important contribution to other CGIAR   research programs, such as Dryland Systems,    Humidtropics,    Water,    Land and Ecosystems, and Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security.     The CGIAR  Research Program on Roots, Tubers  and Bananas is an essential platform for the agile potato. 

 

Visit Agile Potato for Asia website

Tab Economic and Dietary Diversification

We will improve systems productivity and farm incomes of at least seven million HH in targeted Asian countries over the next 10 years. These improvements will be achieved through development and use of early-maturing agile potato varieties and thereby enhancing food security and providing an additional source of income. (By “agile” we mean varieties that can fit into windows currently left fallow in the different cereal-based systems of Asia and display the robustness derived from the intended desirable traits.) We will develop the necessary early-maturing varieties with traits resistant to biotic and abiotic stress, including those required by the market and processing industry, as well as those preferred for home consumption. Responding to strong regional and national demand for better adapted potato varieties and more nutritious foods, we will develop new, early, and extremely early multipurpose potato varieties that are locally adapted and robust. We will help our partners scale up the use of research products for accelerated breeding, improved seed delivery, diversification of value chains, and ecological management practices. We will establish strategic partnerships for going to scale and couple this process with outcome research to assess cost-effectiveness, ensuring a pro-poor focus and gender inclusiveness. We are mindful of inherent risks in agricultural intensification. Therefore, our integrative, interdisciplinary approach to research for development will contribute to the analysis and design of ecologically intensive, sustainable agricultural production systems involving potato in Asia. This SO will contribute to the IDOs defined by CGIAR, particularly those related to increased and stable access to food, more gender-equitable income, enabling policy environment for gender-inclusive technologies, improved productivity, and increased consumption of nutritious food. By doing so, SO 2 will contribute to all four of the SLOs of CGIAR related to reduction in rural poverty, increased food security, improving nutrition and health, and more sustainable management of natural resources.

We will improve systems productivity and farm incomes of at least seven million HH in the Asian countries of China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, and Central Asia over the next 10 years. We will accomplish this through development and use of early-maturing agile potato varieties. This SO will enhance food security and create an additional source of income. 

Asia, with the predicted highest level of global population growth in the 21st century, faces a tremendous food security challenge to feed its people. Climate change and a loss of arable land to urbanization exacerbate the problem. The quality of arable land is degrading due to over-intensification of monocropping, misuse of pesticides, and soil salination caused by frequent droughts. Economic and social exclusion, largely due to gender, caste, and ethnic discrimination, intensifies the problems of poverty and malnutrition. Asia also has the highest concentration of poverty worldwide. This is combined with high malnutrition rates among women and children under five, leading to high levels of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. Asian economies, farming systems, and diets are highly dependent on a small number of commodities—in particular rice and wheat. These are internationally traded food commodities subject to market fluctuations, which have led to severe spikes in the price of food in recent years, further increasing food vulnerability of the poor and related social unrest. Poor populations also continue to experience nutrition vulnerability due to monotonous, low micronutrient diets and the relatively low economic value of cereals. Adoption of strategies is urgently needed to address food and nutrition insecurity in low-income countries.

Diversification of farming systems is a strategy already being pursued by several Asian countries to increase economic and nutritional value and help ease the strain of food price inflation, especially in times of economic crises. Of particular importance will be the sustainable intensification of existing systems with nutritious, versatile, and high-value crops that are less susceptible to the vagaries of international trade. Potato is a high-value food security crop. It can be adapted to a wide range of cropping systems in subtropical, temperate, and highland environments to help low-income consumers cushion the impact of food price inflation and achieve higher income levels from on-farm and added-value options. Potato cultivation in the region, however, is unevenly distributed: China and India alone account for about 79% of the area as well as of production. Shortage of good quality seed has been recognized as one of the most important factors limiting potato production in Asia.

An important step towards food security is the inclusion of potato as a food security crop in the national plans of China, India, and Bangladesh, creating political will and an enabling planning framework for expansion. The Second Phase of Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management addresses land degradation and increased productivity of land resources in Central Asia with a focus on potato as a food security crop. Climate change will have a serious impact on fragile environments of Central and South Asia, with a yield decrease by 30% from now to next mid-century, due mainly to higher temperatures that will lead to greater water demand for agriculture. As a heat-tolerant, low water consumption crop, potato is ideally adapted to alleviate some of the impacts from climate change. Asia is the most disaster-afflicted region in the world, accounting for about 89% of people affected by disasters worldwide. Potato is increasingly being recognized as a disaster mitigation crop, further solidifying its role in overall food security.

 

Early-maturing agile potato varieties, particularly a 70- to 90-day potato resistant to heat and viruses and with good processing quality, are a profitable and nutritious complement to low-income cereals in lowland and highlands of South China, North Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and the plains of Nepal and East Pakistan. In Central Asia, the crop offers a valid alternative to fallow between two consecutive wheat crops, thus creating huge opportunities for potato cultivation. CIP offers elite, tropically adapted bred populations and “candidate potato varieties” with short growing seasons of 70–80 days in subtropical climates and 90–100 days in temperate ones. These varieties are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases. They can bring new areas under potato cultivation in cereal-based systems and increase overall food productivity.

Short-duration, drought-tolerant potato will give flexibility in planting and harvesting time without putting pressure on scarce land and water resources. In the Asia-Pacific region, potato is grown on about 7.3 million ha, producing about 121.7 million MT of potatoes with an average productivity of 16.49 MT/ha. The contribution of the Asia-Pacific region to the world area and production of potato is 39.3% and 37.7%, respectively.

The research on the agile potato will consider the study of sustainable cultivation practices and the environmental impact of introducing the potato on cereal-based cropping systems of Asia. Trade-off analysis in terms of labor, nutrients, water, and other input use will be measured to assess the beneficial impact on the four key elements of food security: food’s availability, accessibility, utilization, and vulnerability.

CIP’s 40 years of experience operating in Asia will be key to empowering the poor for sustainable gains and better income from agriculture. Expertise includes linking farmers with markets, value chain assessment, ICM, systems analysis, natural resource management, and phytosanitary and logistic aspects of exchange of advanced breeding materials. CIP can adapt experience in participatory variety selection (PVS) and farmer field schools (FFS) that will accelerate fast adoption of varieties and technologies for increasing farmer incomes. Our work spans collaborative research, policy and advocacy, and on-the-ground delivery, making the Center unique as a bridge between upstream and downstream research. CIP’s understanding of diverse systems, combined with its established networking presence, can help develop and adapt technologies and practices to smallholder farmers, especially poor and female agricultural workers.

Through networking and an adequate study of value chains it would be possible to identify gaps, bottlenecks, and opportunities and discover causes of price volatility that makes potato uneconomical in certain markets due to overproduction. This can be resolved through the establishment of regional trade to harmonize market exchanges and abolish trade barriers that may occur occasionally to protect local production. Although this would be outside of CIP’s direct capabilities, CIP could generate and provide the scientific evidence to decision makers in targeted countries.

SO#2 Impact Pathway

The core and flagship of this SO are on the development of agile potato varieties (70–90 days) that will fit into the cereal-based systems of the subtropical and temperate lowlands, thus diversifying and intensifying cropping systems that are otherwise based on cereal monocropping and/or fallow (Fig. 1). The secondary focus will be on medium and early-potato varieties grown in the highlands to enhance food security and to ensure a constant and regular supply of healthy seed to the lowlands systems. In the lowlands, agile potato varieties will compete with imported early seed varieties that are already available on the market. In Central Asia and the Caucuses, we estimate that 95% of the varieties grown are imported—many are early or mid-early (90–100 days). Resilient, competitive potato varieties can be incorporated into diverse cropping systems of subtropical lowland, highland, and temperate regions. New, early, and medium duration varieties resistant to abiotic (heat and drought) and biotic (virus, LB) stresses with specific postharvest use and management qualities will address current producers’ and market needs as well as food security for vulnerable households.

Linked productsSO 2 FIG 2

1. Accelerated breeding methods and tools. Advances in breeding technology will be used primarily to develop agile potato varieties for the cereal-based systems of the lowlands. Other cropping systems may benefit as well. Precision phenotyping for constraints such as virus diseases, heat and drought stresses, earliness, and day-neutrality will enable resilient and agile potato varieties to be developed. Standardized data collection and exchange will facilitate decision making. Genome-wide association studies will increase resolution on breeding value and accelerating gains for single and multiple traits.

2. Dynamic improved populations for variety selection and breeding. Researchers use breeding populations to identify important genes and elucidate genetic mechanisms relevant for the development of superior lines that are competitive in world markets. Commercial products can be derived either from immediate selection in breeding populations or by crossing them to existing, adapted varieties. Improved populations offer such benefits as genetic gains through recurrent selection, appropriate heterosis exploitation, and yield stability. They allow varieties to be developed that respond to changing needs— from disease resistance and stress tolerance to local preferences with value-added traits. Support populations can provide novel traits and new diversity for broadening the genetic base, or for incorporation into breeding programs, which enhances value to stakeholders and, ultimately, the consumer.

3. Options for demand expansion. Create awareness/advocate for change in diets and food habits to stimulate consumption and sales and assure farmers’ remunerative price for their potatoes. Options for effective and inclusive market chains will improve access to food and minimize food waste. Given increasing importation of processed potatoes from North America to Asia, evidence would suggest that there are both demand and potential to develop more indigenous processing varieties. Asia’s cyclical problem of overproduction can be eased by diversification in the use of potato. This strategy will sustain an increase in potato area and yields and can help to stabilize potato prices. Throughout Asia, potato is grown mainly for the fresh market, but the potential market for processed potatoes raises new prospects for income generation. Potato chips (crisps), French fries, and flakes are the products with the most potential for Asian markets. For all these products, potatoes should have high dry matter (> 20%), low reducing sugars (< 50 mg/100 g), low sucrose (< 150 mg/100 g), and low phenols (< 50 mg/100 g) of fresh weight in addition to the physical characteristics like shape and color for chipping. The processing sector in Asia is currently small—predominantly in India and China—with only approximately 6% of potatoes processed across the region.
PPP chains are required for contract farming and buy-back mechanisms to enhance processing of potatoes and assure income of farmers and buffer years of overproduction. An intense training program will upgrade farmers’ skills to raise them to the processing requirements through improved technology options that support agricultural diversification and strengthened rural institutions engaged in market value chains. In the pro-poor SO 2, 95% of the beneficiaries will be marginal and small farmers in the region. The availability of quality seed of processing varieties developed will enhance the processing of potatoes from today’s 5% to 10% in the next five years.
Value chain studies should commence with market analysis to assess demand to avoid overproduction in addition to investigating (1) the effects of promoting potato and local recipes as a nutritious food, (2) the opportunities for regional trade of seed and ware potatoes, and (3) whether the effects of introducing the agile potato on the increased amount of potatoes available on the local market would open research opportunities on postharvest and processing.

4. Fast track systems for effective variety identification and release. GIS and crop modeling will be applied to support decisions for variety testing and recommendation. The benefits of PVS approaches to accelerate the release and acceptance of new varieties by multiple stakeholders will produce evidence to influence the decision making of local and central authorities. Regional networking and data management will facilitate the exchange of information and material. Regional hubs with diagnostic capacities will receive material and distribute candidate varieties. Release authorities will be able to use data from other countries and participatory processes.
5. Strategies for ecological intensification of farming system with potato. Research on nutrient cycling, water harvest, sustainable soil, and pest management will contribute to resilient landscapes and increasing crop productivity. Technology development, education, and policy will engage in a systems approach to production and resource management. The dynamics of major biotic and abiotic constraints will be described and baselines quantified for future impact assessment. Standardized quantitative phenotyping of new varieties will enable the subsequent verification of improvements in sustainability of systems by mapping increased levels of resistance in adopted varieties.
6. Strategies for going to scale. SO 2 will continue to work and build the capacity of traditional longstanding national partners, NARS, farmers associations, and NGOs and create regional training hubs in India and Central Asia (and potentially Russia). However, this SO will go to scale only through formulation of more complex and wider reaching partnership structures that involve closer convergence with national government food security plans. In addition, increasing engagement with the private sector and R&D agencies in processing and seed production and ware supplies will be essential, both to drive demand and create supply in addition to strengthening value chains and public health promotion. More innovation will be required in mass and community media communication, given limited budgets to engage with traditional electronic media, such as television and radio, coupled with low penetration of the internet with targeted beneficiaries. Female farmers should be engaged at the outset both in project design and targeting, and the evaluation and dissemination if change at the HH level is to be both replicable and sustainable. Scale-up and -out can only be ensured by an adequate and improved supply of quality seed of the proposed new dual varieties and by promoting better on-farm practices.

Agile Potato for Asia Last News

Dr. Hannele Lindqvist-Kreuze on Women in Science

March 8, 2016 By Amy Rogers Nazarov

“Wherever I have worked, there have always been lots of women,” she said (here at CIP, her supervisor is Dr. Meredith Bonierbale, Disciplinary Center of Excellence Leader for Genetics, Genomics and Crop Improvement). While more and more women are entering scientific and research fields, she says she would like to see more of them in leadership positions in science, like Dr. Bonierbale and CIP Director General Barbara Wells.

  • Publications

  • Potato in Mars

  • Copyright | Privacy/Disclaimers
    Design By NetMidas