The International Potato Center (CIP) is a non-profit scientific institution dedicated to the technical and economic development of potato, sweet-potato and other Andean roots and tubers, with headquarters located in Lima, Peru. CIP also promotes integrated rural development and the rational use of resources in the mountainous regions of the world, where the cultivation of roots and tubers plays an important role in local diets and economies. The CIP-Quito office, which is part of CIP’s global presence, was officially established on November 21, 1989, and registered with the Government of Ecuador on December 12, 1989. CIP-Quito is located in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, at an altitude of 3058 meters above sea level, which provides a unique opportunity to study the various varieties of Andean potato, sweet-potato and other roots and tubers. CIP’s research station in Quito is located whitin the INIAP Santa Catalina Experimental Station, between hills and snow-covered volcanoes, on the outskirts of the Quito metropolitan region. The CIP-Quito office, includes an international staff of researchers, students and support personnel.
CIP-Quito, like all CIP offices, conducts research related to potato, sweet-potato and other tubers, for the purpose of reducing poverty, increasing yields and spreading knowledge about sustainable farming practices. Researchers at CIP-Quito study varied topics ranging from the resistance of potatoes to late blight disease to trade-off analysis of the effects of pesticides on crops and soils.
CIP-Quito works in collaboration with nine international universities, agricultural projects and agencies of various Ministries, 14 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups interested in agriculture. Our main partner is the INIAP (National Institute of Agricultural Research), with whom we share research facilities at the Santa Catalina Experimental Station.
MAIN RESEARCH AREAS
Late Blight Management – CIP-Quito has conducted extensive research on Phytophthora infestans: the pathogen that causes late blight in potatoes, tomatoes and other species within the Solanum genus. The studies have focused on the dynamic population of the pathogen in the country. The pathogen’s subpopulations have been characterized and the relationship with this particular host is currently being studied. During the last ten years, resistant potatoes have been evaluated in collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIAP). Eight new potato varieties have been released over the past six years. The CIP-Quito team studying late blight is developing simple decision systems to support the resources of poor farmers. Strains resistant to P. infestans and have been isolated and cloned; simulation programs are being developed in an attempt to illustrate the effects of P. infestans on potato crops; and a database of these markers has been compiled from the isolates of P.infestans.
Trade-off Analysis – Trade-off Analysis (TOA) is a process in which agriculture’s economic and environmental sustainability is analyzed. Researchers at CIP-Quito use TOA for the purpose of quantifying the relationship between economic and environmental indicators; TOA measures the indicators at the field level on a farm and then aggregates the results of individual fields at valley or regional levels. Results are usually presented in a graphical format, and gains in one area usually cause losses in another. CIP-Quito is currently focusing on the trade offs between increased production and soil degradation (particularly erosion); information that will be used to analyze the economic impacts of soil conservation practices.
Integrated Management of Natural Resources – The purpose of the Program for the Integrated Management of Natural Resources is to improve soil productivity in a way that is biologically viable and responsible with respect to the environment and conservation of natural resources. Research in the program focuses on finding more effective combinations of tillage, nutrient management (organic and inorganic), and soil erosion control for good harvest in the soils, topography and climates of the Andes. The research is participatory and is conducted within a framework that brings together all the disciplines necessary for a better understanding of the components of the mountain agro-ecosystem (soils, climate, crops, management, people and institutions) and how they interact to influence soil productivity. Many of the different disciplines (for example: soil biology, soil ecology, soil fertility, soil physics, agronomy, economics) needed to meet the program objectives come from a network formed recently with scientists from the Andes and ARO, which we call MOSAndes.
INNOVATION FOR FOOD SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY IN THE ANDEAN REGION
Donor: European Union
Duration: The project lasted three years (2011-2014)
Location: It covered five countries of the Andean region: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Activities in Colombia and Venezuela began in mid-2012.
General Objective: Contribute to improving the food security conditions of vulnerable rural populations and the most impoverished sectors of the Andean region, with a goal of achieving the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
Specific Objective: Strengthen agricultural innovation for food security of the poor at different territorial levels (local, national and regional) within the Andean region, in response to the needs of the most vulnerable rural groups.
Project focus: The project approach was based on the four pillars of food security developed by FAO:
TR 1: Adaptive research Innovation processes to improve food security are replicated and respond to the demands of vulnerable populations.
TR 2: Strengthening capacities Public and private research and development actors improve their capacities to respond to food security priorities in the region.
TR 3: Applied research Creation and dissemination of knowledge and scientific information that responds to the demands of the vulnerable rural population.
TR 4: Impact on policy Identification of policies that link innovation and food security and promotion their application.
For more information, contact: