The Innovation Chain

The International Potato Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIP) is a research-for-development organization with a focus on potato, sweetpotato, and Andean roots and tubers. CIP is dedicated to delivering sustainable science-based solutions to the pressing world issues of hunger, poverty, gender equity, climate change and the preservation of our Earth’s fragile biodiversity and natural resources.


The potato has great potential for contributing to food security and development. It produces more calories per hectare than wheat or rice, requires less water than many crops and can be grown in a wide range of altitudes. World potato production has increased by 14.9 percent in the last 13 years, despite the fact that the area dedicated to the crop has decreased by 3.7 percent. The potato’s high productivity, adaptability and food value have led it to be cultivated in 163 countries. Currently, half of the world’s potato production is in Asia, mainly in China and India, where production has
increased by 109 percent and 145 percent respectively in the last 20 years.

Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) focus their efforts on the main challenges of potato farming and tapping the crop’s potential for improving lives. We develop potato varieties with high yields, rich in iron and zinc, resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to high temperatures and droughts, in order to help smallholders deal with climate change and contribute to the preservation of the environment. We also develop and promote the use of appropriate tools and farmer training  through participatory methods, with a gender responsive perspective. At the same time, we are cognizant of the need to help farmers gain access to better markets, which is why we work with different value chain actors to develop commercial innovations for national and international markets

International Potato Center (Brochure 2018)

The innovation chain. Biodiversity. Food security. Business. Services for science and innovation

Centro Internacional de la Papa (Folleto 2018)

La cadena de innovacion. Biodiversidad. Seguridad alimentaria. Negocios. Servicios para la ciencia e innovacion

CIP Annual Report 2016. Nutrition in a climate changing world.

RTB Annual Report 2016: Research for innovation and impact.

Informe Anual 2016. Nutrición en un mundo de cambio climático

Catálogo de nuevas variedades de papa: sabores y colores para el gusto peruano

Conserving Biodiversity for the Future

Maintaining Potato Diversity for Use by Humanity

The genebank at the International Potato Center (CIP) holds the world’s largest collection of potato genetic resources with over 10,750 potato accessions collected from over 40 countries. As of March 2018, the collection included 2,338 accessions maintained and distributed as seed populations from 140 wild potato species, 4,954 cultivated (mostly landrace) accessions distributed as clonal tissue culture material and 3,683 research and breeding lines also maintained in tissue culture.  The potato collection is held in trust for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and is available under the terms of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) worldwide, for research, training or breeding.  Secure long-term funding for the maintenance, phytosanitary cleaning, and distribution of this collection is ensured through long-term commitments by the CGIAR through the Genebank Platform, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.  Information on the collection and to order germplasm, is publicly available at .  In addition to safeguarding the global in trust potato collection, the CIP genebank also maintains the in trust sweetpotato collection, as well as, the global collection of nine different Andean root and tuber crops (oca, mashua, ulluco, yacon, maca, ahipa, mauka, arracacha and achira).

Samples of the multi-diverse potato landraces from the Peruvian Andean region, as well as, wild relatives, and demonstrations of the techniques used for enhancing the distribution, repatriation (Fig. 1) and long-term conservation of these valuable genetic resources will be exhibited in the stand “Conserving Biodiversity for the future”.  Methods for pathogen elimination and cryopreservation will also be shown.

To continue the goal of long-term conservation of the diversity of potato, CIP has partnered with the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) in a project to collect new diversity from the field of crop wild relatives in Peru, the first such wide-scale collection of potato diversity in 20 years. This project is a good example of the partnership between INIA and CIP as all 14 collection trips have had both CIP and INIA staff, working as a team to ensure success in the conservation of potato diversity by providing the greatest expertise and knowledge available globally on where wild potato species occur in Peru. Current progress in this project will be presented.

Fig. 1. Number of potato landraces repatriated to Peruvian farmer communities along 20 years (1997 – 2017).


Collection of crop wild relatives in the potato genepool in Peru by INIA

The activity is a Project Partners forming part of an initiative entitled “Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives” that the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew UK are undertaking in partnership with national institutes, the Centers of the Constative Group on the International Agriculture Research and other specialized institutions.


Food Security, Nutrition and Environmental Protection

CIP’s potato breeding program has developed new biofortified potatoes, with high iron and zinc content, that are the results of nearly a decade of crosses and selection. The evaluation of the first products of this biofortification program has been carried out in collaboration with strategic partners and farmers, who are currently cultivating a group of advanced clones with about 50 percent higher iron and zinc content than conventional varieties. These potatoes have also been crossed with clones from breeding populations with resistance to the most important pests and diseases, as well as tolerance to high temperatures and droughts, superior yields and culinary qualities acceptable to farmers and consumers, in order to develop new biofortified  potatoes that have those characteristics. Those potatoes will be evaluated with the participation of farmers in different regions of the world, which will facilitate the dissemination, adoption and formal release of new biofortified potato varieties. These efforts will contribute to reducing malnutrition levels and strengthening the food security of poor communities.

CIP also develops and promotes appropriate technologies to help small producers improve their potato production. These include the use of yellow traps, pheromones and plastic barriers for the control of crop pests, the production of healthy seed tubers through aeroponics or hydroponics, and decision support tools to help farmers manage diseases, among other innovations. At the  same time, we promote precision agriculture by designing and making available low-cost remote sensing technologies for monitoring crops, in order to optimize the use of resources such as water and fertilizers and generate information to improve decision making for potato farming and environmental protection

Valorizing Biodiversity for Market and Development Innovations

In potato farming, domestic markets dominate. Only about three percent of the fresh potatoes produced in the world is exported. The largest consumers of fresh potatoes are Europeans, with the highest consumption concentrated in Eastern Europe. One of the great challenges for developing countries is to generate value around local varieties or, to put it another way, to valorize biodiversity.
Through various projects that use a value chain approach, CIP has encouraged businesses to invest in the development of new products and work with smallholders, while getting the public sector to promote consumption and generate a policy framework that facilitates private sector intervention. In doing this, various innovations have been generated that add value to the potato, especially to native varieties: new products entering the market (commercial innovations); new institutional arrangements and standards to ensure the quality of the final product (institutional innovations); and new technologies that respond to the specific needs and logic of the market (technological innovations).

The Papa Andina Experience. The Papa Andina Partnership Program has been an especially innovative and productive regional initiative. It has brought together researchers, small farmers, diverse market actors, and dozens of organizations in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru to spur innovation in public policies, potato products, and value market chains. The program has spearheaded creative participatory approaches to link small potato producers to high-value markets. It has developed and employed complementary approaches for market chain development, multi-stakeholder platforms, corporate social responsibility, social learning, knowledge sharing, policy advocacy, and incorporating empowerment and gender concerns into innovation processes. To learn more about this initiative we have selected one blog and a book describing the experience. (book)  (blog)

El premio que recibió Papa Andina el premio de premio de la iniciativa ganadora del Concurso de Casos Exitosos de Innovación en Agricultura Familiar en 2012 en la Categoría III: Organismos Internacionales y Multinacionales de Investigación y Desarrollo. El concurso estuvo patrocinado por el Fondo Regional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (FONTAGRO), el Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) y el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID).

Innovation for Development: The Papa Andina Experience: (book)

The Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA): from the Andes to Africa and Asia:  (brief)

Peru’s native potato revolution:  (brief)

The PMCA and potato market chain innovation in Peru:  (brief)

T’ikapapa: Linking Urban Consumers and Small-Scale Andean Producers with Potato Biodiversity: (book)

Collective Action for Innovation and Small Farmer Market Access: The Papa Andina Experience. CAPRi:  (book)

Making CIP’s Expertise Available to Businesses and Institutions 

With more than 45 years of experience in research in potato, sweetpotato and Andean roots and tubers, CIP offers its intellectual capital, skills, experience and technology to the business and scientific communities for their agricultural research, development and innovation needs. Through these services, CIP can help clients increase their capacity for innovation, competitiveness and ability to take advantage of business opportunities.
Our services include:

  • Developing collaborative research, development and innovation projects with academia, businesses or the public sector.
  • Laboratory analyses and bioassays (ISO/IEC 17025 accredited) for the diagnosis of phytopathogens.
  • Chemical analysis to estimate micronutrient content.
  • Technical advice, training and capacity building for specific needs.
  • Laboratory or other workspace rentals.

Within the framework of Peruvian law No 30309, which offers tax benefits to companies that invest in esearch, development and innovation (RDI), Peru’s National Council of Science Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) authorized CIP to offer its technical knowledge and experience in plant breeding and plant protection to agricultural organizations and companies as a ‘scientific research, technological development and/or innovation center’ (RSD No.039-2016 CONCYTEC / SDITT). An example of these services is the strategic alliance that CIP and the Peruvian company HORTUS formed in 2016 to carry out research for the development of new products for potato farmers. project, which has been successfully completed, consisted of testing the efficacy of four inducers to control potato late blight that were produced by HORTUS S.A. The information by this research will help HORTUS S.A., to make strategic business decisions about those For companies, partnering with CIP results in multiple benefits:

  1. It contributes the making Peru’s innovation sector more dynamic.
  2. Makes a company’s investment in research and development more efficient and effective, because they don’t need to maintain their own R&D department.
  3. Because the innovation process becomes more cost-effective, companies can diversify their research portfolios and, at the same time, improve their competitiveness.
  4. It contributes to the training of the young researchers who participate in these projects.
  5. Provides the possibility of publishing research results in globalscientific journals.
  6. Increases the prestige of companies that are recognized for investing in innovation and development.