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CIP DG Wells Challenges World Potato Congress to Partner to Eliminate Poverty

Jul 27 2015   |   By: sara-fajardo   |   0   |  

“We have a tool in the potato to fight hunger and under-nutrition and lift people out of poverty,” Barbara Wells, International Potato Center (CIP) director general, stated in a keynote speech on global food security at the 9th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Beijing, China on July 28th.

Scientists and industry leaders from all sides of the potato production and processing spectrum make up the more than 800 attendees seeking to maximize the potato’s full potential to reduce hunger, improve diets, and stimulate economic growth. Wells encouraged participants to find synergies between the public and private spheres to provide pro-poor varieties of potatoes and market opportunities to the more than 1 billion people living on less than a dollar a day.

“Food security shouldn’t be viewed simply as an issue for NGOs, governments or world bodies to address,” Wells said. “The private sector and the world economy have an interest in increasing food security and improving nutrition and incomes of the world’s poor. The world loses 2-3% GDP annually due to hunger. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), every dollar invested in tackling hunger yields a return of $30. So by investing in the food security of the world’s poor we are investing in our collective well-being.” The potato is the third most consumed crop worldwide with more than a billion people consuming it on a regular basis and the numbers are on the rise. In as little as 50 years potato production has grown from 30 million tons in the early 60s to more than 219 million tons in 2012.

As the leading potato producer in the world—it produces 25% of the world’s potatoes— China is uniquely positioned to host the WPC. Since 1985 potato production in China has skyrocketed, almost tripling from 27 million to 73 million tons. This growth in large part is due to the partnership established between CIP and the Chinese government more than 35 years ago. For more than three decades CIP has joined forces with Chinese research institutes and government entities to tackle issues of food security through innovations in potato production. To date China has imported over 8,000 accessions of germplasm from CIP. A full 30% of the 84 popular potato varieties now used in China are related to CIP germplasm.

CIP-24, a disease-resistant potato clone, helped launch the CIP-Chinese government partnership in 1978. It is still grown on over 70,000 hectares mainly in China’s Northern drought-prone provinces. Cooperation-88, released in 1995 by Yunnan Normal University using CIP germplasm, is now widely cultivated not only in China but neighboring Vietnam and Myanmar thanks to its late blight resistance and solid marketability.

The CIP-Chinese partnership will deepen with the opening of the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific (CCCAP) research campus currently under construction in Yanqing County— host to the WPC. CCCAP will be a world-class root and tuber research center that will continue to advance the goals of CIP to lift people out of poverty while fighting hunger and undernutrition.

“What is different in 2015 is the playing field for potato has changed,” Wells said. “The world is producing and consuming potatoes more than ever before. The opportunities to provide pro‐poor varieties and technologies where potato already exists are clear.”

Wells challenged attendees to work together to “connect the dots between what you do and these opportunities. No matter what your role in the industry is, there is a place for you to contribute to food security around the world.” In addition to Wells’ keynote speech, CIP is well represented at the Congress: Wells will also deliver the opening address for the International Workshop on Potato-Derived Staple Food Products and Industry Development; CIP Board Chairman, Rodney Cooke, will chair a keynote session; and CIP’s Deputy Director General for Research and Development, Oscar Ortiz, will give a speech on potato diversity and utilization in Peru.

New CIP Center in Yanqing, China Will Enhance Potato Research and Cooperation

Jul 24 2015   |   By: joel-ranck   |   0   |  

As potato scientists and representatives of government and industry discuss the latest advances in tuber research and agronomy at the 9th World Potato Congress, to be held in Yanqing County, Beijing, workers in that area will be advancing on the construction of a new research campus for the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific (CCCAP).

Work on the new CCCAP facilities is moving forward – construction of secondary structures of the research building has been completed and interior finishing has begun in the office area and living quarters, whereas access roads and other infrastructure are underway. The Center’s construction serves as an example of the degree of collaboration between CIP and the Government of China.

The World Potato Congress will provide an opportunity to highlight this new facility, as CIP Director General Barbara Wells, CCCAP Director Lu Xiaoping, Deputy Director Jim Gradoville and various CIP researchers will attend the event. Once completed, CCCAP will be a fully integrated, world-class agricultural research center that will contribute to improving root and tuber production in China, East Asia and the Pacific. Research at CCCAP will include various root and tuber crops, and the center will promote technical exchanges and other cooperation, joint research and extensions services for a major, international impact.

The completion of the new CCCAP campus will establish Yanqing as a regional hub of potato research and environmentally friendly development. In addition to CCCAP, Yanqing is home to the National Engineering Research Center for Potato, the National Potato Industry High-Tech Park and Beijing Xisen Sanhe Poato Co. Ltd. – the country’s largest seed potato producer. Yanqing already plays an important role in mini-tuber production for Chinese farmers, with an annual production capacity of 150 million.

CIP Researchers Among the Delegates to World Potato Congress in Beijing

Jul 23 2015   |   By: joel-ranck   |   0   |  

CIP directors and researchers will be among the more than 800 potato scientists and representatives of governments, agriculture and food industries from approximately 30 countries that are expected to attend the 9th World Potato Congress, to be held in Yanquing Beijing, China July 28-30.

The triennial World Potato Congress (WPC) brings together researchers and industry representatives from developing and developed countries in an effort to build a ‘global potato family’ and promote the growth and development of potato production. This year’s Congress will be held in conjunction with the China Potato Congress, China Potato Expo and an International Workshop on Potato-Derived Staple Food Products and Industry Development. All these events will be held at the Badaling International Convention Center, in Yanqing County, Beijing. CIP representatives will play an active role in the Congress. Director General Barbara Wells will give a keynote speech on the role of potato in global food security, and will deliver the opening address for the International Workshop on Potato-Derived Staple Food Products and Industry Development. CIP Board Chairman Rodney Cook will chair a keynote session, and CIP’s Deputy Director General Oscar Ortiz will give a speech on potato diversity and utilization in Peru.

Lu Xiaoping, Director of the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific (CCCAP), will also participate in the event, together with other CCCAP scientists. CCCAP is a cooperative endeavor between CIP and China, a collaboration that should grow in the coming years thanks to a new CCCAP research campus currently under construction in Yanqing County. Once completed, CCCAP will be a world-class root and tuber research center dedicated to improving the production and value of potato, sweetpotato and other root crops in China, East Asia and the Pacific. Yanqing County, where the WPC will take place, is becoming a hub of agricultural research, development and technological innovation, thanks to the presence of CCCAP, China’s National Engineering Research Center for Potato, and a National Potato Industry High-Tech Park. Yanqing also holds part of China’s Great Wall, and the WPC will close with an award ceremony and dinner held at the Badaling section of the Great Wall, where delegates will enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine with a view of that iconic monument.

“Yanqing is home to spectacular natural scenery, abundant tourist resources, a solid industry foundation and good infrastructure that make it a perfect host for the World Potato Congress,” said David Thompson, President of WPC Inc, which organizes the event.

The full event schedule can be found at www.potatocongress.org

CIP Board of Trustees visit Malawi and celebrate 9 years of CIP in Malawi improving the livelihoods of small holder farmers

Jul 17 2015   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

Dr Paul Demo, Senior Country Liaison Scientist was CIPs first staff member in Malawi in 2006 and he has been the driving force behind the Malawi program ever since. Paul was thrilled to have the Board of Trustees visit Malawi: “it was a pleasure and an honor to host the CIP Board of Trustees here in Malawi. We have had the pleasure of inviting them to this beautiful country and sharing with them our achievements here in Malawi.”

It was a week-long event which began with a field trip to visit CIP potato and sweetpotato projects in Dedza. The participants got to see first hand the impact of CIPs work on smallholder farmers and to share a conversation with CIPs beneficiaries and partners.

The group visited Bembeke Research sub-station to see CIPs Irish Aid funded potato project at work. The group enjoyed a briefing from Dr Demo on the potato portfolio in Malawi and then toured the facilities including the seed potato store. In Malawi, CIP works very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and staff from the Department of Agricultural Research Services were on hand throughout the day to talk about the CIP and DAS collaboration and partnership.

Next stop was a visit to KADUDE Potato Framers Group where the group received a lively reception of singing and dancing from project members. Here the BoT enjoyed talking with project beneficiates and local potato farmers about their work with CIP. They also toured the diffused light seed potato store which had been set up in the community and was allowing farmers to have some control over when they would take potato and seed to market.

Next up was a visit to a farmers group who were involved in OFSP vine multiplication and production. The group had cooked up a dazzling array of OFSP dishes and welcomed the group to taste test the mouthwatering collection.

The field trip was a great start to the week and gave the board a great opportunity to see CIP staff in action; hear directly from beneficiaries about their participation in CIP projects and to see first hand how CIP works hand in hand with a range of organisations to deliver our programs.

After a week of meetings, the meeting ended with a great celebration of the official inauguration of the CIP Malawi offices in Lilongwe. The event was attended by a range of donors, partners and supporters from Malawi.

Dr Paul Demo welcomed everyone with a short reflection on his time with CIP in Malawi: “As Senior Country Liaison Scientist for CIP Malawi I am pleased to welcome you to our offices today to celebrate with us and our partners our achievements in improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Malawi. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work with CIP for the last 12 years and to work here in Malawi for the last 9 years and as I look around today I see many people here who I am proud to work alongside and who I am happy I can call my friends and colleagues”

CIP Board Chair Dr Rodney Cooke and CIP Director General Dr Barbara Wells also welcomed guests and took a moment to reflect on their experiences over the last week and their vision for a bright future for CIP in Malawi.

CIP DG Barbara Wells stated: “As the Director General of CIP, I am very proud to see and hear all that has been achieved in Malawi in partnership with government and our partners and donors. Over the last week I have had the immense pleasure of getting to know our CIP Malawi staff who are passionate and work hard in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and our partners to deliver our programs.

CIP is committed to working with our partners to scale-up use of potato and sweetpoato varieties through accelerated breeding, improved multiplication techniques, diversified value chain development, and evidence-based policies. We are committed to the continued establishment of strategic partnerships for going to scale and will accompany this process with strategic research to assess cost-effectiveness, pro-poor focus, and gender inclusiveness.”

The event was also attended by special guest speaker Honorable Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Mrs. Erica Maganga, Principal Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. The Honorable Minister shared these words: “I am pleased to inform you all that my Ministry has a history of working closely with the International Potato Center in our shared goal of improving the lives of smallholder farmers in Malawi.

As Minister of Agriculture I am very proud to see and hear about all that we have achieved together, working hand in hand to bring skills, technology, training for potato and sweetpotato to farming communities across the country. Over the 9 years CIP has been in Malawi, we have developed strong working relationships that have led to making remarkable achievements. I thank my staff here in Malawi who work tirelessly with the farming communities across Malawi and I recognize and give thanks to CIP for your continued commitment to working in Malawi and working in partnership with my Ministry.

This month, we celebrate CIP-Malawi having occupied these offices for exactly one year. You would therefore not look for any other opportune time than when the CIP Board Chairman, CIP Director General and the entire CIP Board of Trustees members have come to witness the official opening of these offices.”

CIP Board of Trustees visit Dedza, the potato growing region of Malawi to visit CIP projects:

Peru Chosen to Host 10th World Potato Congress in 2018

Jul 16 2015   |   By: david-dudenhoefer   |   0   |  

That triennial event is organized by the non-profit World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc., which is dedicated to supporting the global growth and development of the potato. The designation of Peru as host country marks the first time that the Congress will be held in Latin America.

The 9th World Potato Congress is about to take place in Beijing, China, on July 28-30. Previous congresses have been held in North America, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. Wells will accompany Peruvian authorities in a ceremony at the Beijing WPC on July 29, when Peru will officially accept the honor of hosting the next Congress.

The 10th World Potato Congress is expected to attract more than 800 potato scientists and industry representatives from around the world. It will be held in the Peruvian city of Cusco, high in the Andes. The former capital of the Incan empire, Cusco lies in a region where people have been growing potatoes for thousands of years.

Peru’s designation as host was the result of a six-month nomination and lobbying process that included site evaluations by a team from WPC Inc. CIP played an important role in that effort as one of six institutions in a team that convinced the WPC board to choose Peru. CIP researcher Miguel Ordinola, who represented CIP in that process, explained that Peru’s selling points included the fact that it lies within the potato’s center of origin and holds the world’s greatest potato biodiversity, with approximately 3,000 varieties.

World Potato Congress

“This is an opportunity for Peru to show its potato biodiversity to the world,” he said. “Those native potatoes hold solutions for many of the problems that potato farmers face around the world.”

Maurer observed that while Peru’s potato heritage played an important role in its proposal, WPC representatives were also interested in what Peru is doing with its potatoes today. They were impressed by the fact that Peru is Latin America’s top potato producer, and its promotion of native potatoes and potato products internationally. He added that there was initial concern about Peru’s capacity to organize such an event, but the WPC board was assured by the country’s successful hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference COP20 in December 2014.

“This is the result of a long process and very good team work,” Maurer said. He explained that the team that nominated Peru, and will help organize the event, includes representatives of CIP, INIA, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and its leading agronomy university: the Universidad Agraria.

World Potato Congress

On the last day of the 2018 Congress, delegates will be able to participate in field trips to INIA’s Andenes Experimental Station, where native potatoes are cultivated on Incan terraces, or the Potato Park, where six indigenous communities are working to preserve native potato biodiversity and cultural practices. The closing dinner and awards ceremony will be held at Cusco’s Coricancha: an Incan temple that Spanish authorities converted into a Catholic church during the colonial era.

“We think that this will be a great opportunity to show the world all that Peru has to offer,” said Maurer. “We’re going to start working now to ensure that this will be the best Congress in the event’s history.”