Meetings and events
Participatory varietal selection in potato’s heartland
CIP and its partners from the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) Agricultural Experiment Station in Illpa, Peru conducted a field day on 11 May with local farmers. The purpose was to solicit their preferences and priorities regarding improved native potato varieties adapted to the unique conditions of the Peruvian Altiplano. Farmers identified and prioritized key characteristics they would like to see in improved varieties ranging from shape and color for producing chuno (freeze-dried potato) to issues such as taste,
texture, and resistance to frost, flooding, or late blight disease. They also assessed and selected preferred characteristics (size, shape, color, quality, texture, taste, and more) among improved potato clones from native varieties planted last year and freshly harvested for this activity. Voting was anonymous and captured gender differences in preferences and priorities. Led by, CIP’s Manuel Gastelo and INIA’s Jesus Arcos, the event was an activity of CIP’s ALTAGRO program. The program has worked in the Peru-Bolivia Altiplano to promote the use of agricultural technologies to reverse the degradation of natural resources, improve productivity, increase revenue generation, ensure food security, and promote greater recognition and participation of women.
National consultation and farmer’s day in Modipuram, India
A National Consultation on “Production of Disease Free Quality Planting Material Propagated through Tubers and Rhizomes,” brought together nearly 2000 farmers and researchers along with public and
private sector partners to explore common interests in Modipuram, India, on 4-5 March 2011. CIP was a co-sponsor of the event, along with PepsiCo, Jain Irrigation, Horticulture Board, and the India Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). The meeting included technical sessions, with presentations by CIP’s Mohinder Kadian and Sreekanth Attaluri. Neeraj Sharma, Shahid Ali, and Vikraman Surjit presented posters. An exhibition
for a “Kisan Mela” (Farmer’s Day), featured live samples of orange fleshed sweetpotato and of early bulking, heat-tolerant, late blight resistant, and processing quality potatoes.
CIP-Mozambique receives visit from US Deputy Secretary of State
Thomas R. Nides, US Deputy-Secretary of State, toured CIP and other International Agricultural Research Centers in Mozambique during a visit on 4 May. CIP was a center of focus regarding the sweetpotato and potato breeding programs, agro-processing, marketing activities, and health promotion efforts that have been carried out in the last 10 years. Samples of the 15 new varieties of sweetpotato recently pre-released in Mozambique were displayed. CIP’s Maria Andrade described the breeding programs, along with the role of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) in combating vitamin A deficiency. Mr. Niles also saw processed products, visited the tissue culture lab and greenhouses, and received some of CIP’s OFSP promotion materials. He concluded the visit with congratulations to CIP for its work in the fight against hunger and poverty in Africa.
Root & Tuber Crops for Food, Nutrition, and Livelihood Knowledge Fair was held on 17 June 2011, in Manila, the Philippines. It showcased commercial food products and traditional RTC dishes from over 30 commercial companies, community producers processors’ groups, and small-scale entrepreneurs from various Asian countries. Samples ranged from traditional fermented cassava and orange-sweetpotato breads
from Indonesia, elephant-foot yam curries and tapioca chips from India, sweetpotato noodles and potato grates from China, and yacon wine and purple-yam snackfood products from the Philippines. The purpose was to showcase innovative uses of these often undervalued crops and to stimulate knowledge exchange among those engaged in RTC research, extension, and business development. The event was co-organized by CIP and the Philippine Rootcrop Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops). It was developed to respond to growing interest in harnessing the potentials of RTCs for improving food security, nutrition, health and livelihoods. Along with the exhibits and taste tests of RTC products were presentations by a panel of international experts and the official launching of a regional Asia-Pacific partnership initiative on RTC research-for-development, sponsored by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The event generated strong participation from the private sector, government, NGOs, and the media.
National Potato Day
CIP hosted Peru’s National Potato Day celebration on 27 May, highlighting research and development impacts that have led to increased demand for native potato and improvements in the potato market chain in Peru, including greater inclusion of small-scale farmers. The event was co-hosted with the Ministry of Agriculture and organized by CIP’s
Papa Andina and INCOPA. It showcased CIP success stories over the past 10 years through the re-creation of the potato market chain, from breeding and improved varieties to the marketplace, collaboration with small and big businesses, and major inroads into the gastronomic sector. Innovations such as the introduction of 60 native potato varieties in the official potato variety catalogue, seed production techniques, standardizations of technical norms for fresh and processed potatoes and the development of new products with native potatoes, were featured as contributing to an increase in local potato consumption from 60 to 83 kilos per capita. The event brought participation from all the diverse partners of the market value chain, along with Ministry of Agriculture officials, funding partners from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and members of the media. This was Peru’s seventh consecutive National Potato Day. Now a well-recognized and highly celebrated event across the country, it represents a Papa Andina public policy success story.