There are over 4,000 edible varieties of potato, mostly found in the Andes of South America. (click here for a pdf catalog of some Peruvian native potato varieties)
Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global total crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons.
Potato is a critical crop in terms of food security in the face of population growth and increased hunger rates. For example, China, the world’s biggest consumer of potatoes, expects that fully 50% of the increased food production it will need to meet demand in the next 20 years will come from potatoes.
The first modern “convenience food,” potato is energy-rich, nutritious, easy to grow on small plots, cheap to purchase, and ready to cook without expensive processing.
CIP’s genebank maintains the largest collection of potato in the world, including more than 7,000 accessions of native, wild, and improved varieties.