Potato in highlands
Increasing profits, improving nutrition
The Andean highlands, where potato was first domesticated, is the primary center for the conservation of potato biodiversity. At elevations between 1,500 and 4,000 meters, this agro-ecosystem also includes potato areas in Asia and Africa, which face similar climate risks and socio-economic conditions.
Resource-poor farmers in mountain ecosystems grow potatoes both for food and to generate income. The potato yields more nutritious food more quickly on less land and in harsher climates than any other major food crop. Production constraints include small farm size, vulnerability to stress and, increasingly, extreme weather events linked to climate change.
In the Andes, the potato plays a central role in livelihood systems and easily generates more added value and employment per hectare than any other staple crop. In Asia and Africa, it functions as one of the few crops that farmers produce for both food security purposes and income generation. Given these similarities, the Highland Potato Program targets and links research across comparable agro-eco-regions on three continents.
CIP is developing more nutritious, pest- and disease-resistant varieties, introducing agricultural practices that conserve natural resources, and implementing participatory market approaches to increase incomes and promote sustainable development.
CIP’s work on highland potatoes focuses on the following critical themes:
- Value Chains and Food Security
- Seed Systems
- Crop Management and Production Systems
Papa Andina's main objective is to foster pro-poor innovation in market chains in order to improve food security and market access for small farmers, and to reduce poverty. For this purpose, Papa Andina develops, uses and promotes participatory methodologies. By involving research and development organizations, the business sector, national public authorities and local farmers in the innovation process, Papa Andina links research with collective action to respond to small-scale farmers’ concrete needs.