Potato in subtropical lowlands
Promoting early maturing varieties to diversify cereal-based systems
Throughout Asia’s subtropical lowlands (spanning the Indo-Gangetic Plain in the West and China and Indochina in the east), potatoes serve as an important complement to cereal-based diets and provide farmers with much-needed seasonal income. Expanding and intensifying Asia’s winter potato crop provides an important opportunity to increase food supplies and improve nutrition in areas where natural resources are scarce and food security is an on-going concern.
Potato production normally takes place in the short days of the winter season between harvesting and planting rice. Because Asia’s winter potatoes are grown with residual moisture following the monsoon, the crop often needs supplementary irrigation, a resource unavailable at many locations. Compounding the problem is unpredictable or uneven rainfall that often leads to drought or, conversely, water logging. The development of an early, heat-tolerant potato—one that can utilize residual irrigation water—would greatly benefit farmers.
Even when crops are bountiful, hot rainy periods can intensify field and storage losses due to diseases and pests. Because cold storage is not an option for most farmers, long dormancy periods and good storage characteristics are considered important agronomic traits.
CIP is working to establish an integrated breeding system to deliver varieties of early maturing, heat-tolerant potatoes that meet the requirements of Asian farmers, consumers, and markets. Tandem efforts include disseminating technologies and best practices to sustain a diversified cropping system; facilitating production and distribution of high-quality, improved seed; and building local and national capacity to reach large numbers of households, particularly those headed by women and landless people.
Priorities for this area include:
- Cooperation-88 (C88) is a high yielding CIP cultivar. Owing to durable late blight resistance and excellent vegetative growth, production of C88 has exploded in the 15 years since its release in Southwest China.