Interest in potatoes is growing as more farmers, scientists, and development professionals realize those tubers can produce more food and income on the same land than most crops. Evidence of this trend can be found in the success of The Potato Crop, a 500-word, open-access book with more than 300,000 downloads since its publication in early 2020 – more than 30 times that of similar books – and frequent mentions across media and social media channels. The Potato Crop is beating the competition to confirm its ongoing relevance to the global agricultural research and development community.
Oscar Ortiz, co-editor and Director General ad interim of the International Potato Center (CIP) attributes this interest to growing awareness about the importance of potato for food and nutrition security. “Not many people know that it’s the third most consumed crop in the world. In China and India, it is a staple, but we find developing countries eating more potato now because of its nutrition and agronomic benefits.”
The 14-chapter book covers all aspects of the potato from the basic science of its growth and physiology to the role it plays in food security, development, gender transformation, and climate change resilience for smallholder farmers in developing countries around the world. Each chapter emphasizes the need to work in a participatory way to connect disciplines, farmers, scientists, and organizations.
Speaking just after its launch, co-editor Hugo Campus, CIP’s Interim Deputy Director General for Research and Development, explained why making the book freely available was so important. “Right from the start, we planned for this to be an open-access book, available free of charge to anyone, to maximize the reach of our research to as many people as possible and we were so pleased and surprised to see that it had been downloaded more than 56,000 times in its first month from the Springer Publishing website..”
If you don’t have a copy, don’t delay; you can download a PDF or EPUB of either the book or individual chapters of The Potato Crop – Its Agricultural, Nutritional and Social Contribution to Humankind here.
Read an earlier interview with the co-editors here