Potato in temperate Asia

Conserving water, enhancing incomes

The temperate regions of Asia include portions of China, Korea, Turkey, the southern Caucasus, and all of Central Asia. Potato is an important cash and staple crop that contributes vital nutrients to the diets of the poor. In Central Asia, where potato production is second only to wheat, consumption rates rank among the highest in the world. In recent years, the crop has emerged as a popular food in the urban markets of China and as an essential food security crop in DPR Korea.

Production systems vary across the temperate zone from diversified, single cropping to intensive double cropping. Potato pests and diseases affect yield and profitability. Water shortages are linked to both greater competition and climate change. Since the Soviet Socialist Republic countries gained independence, investment in research and development has been limited. Consequently, old local and Russian potato varieties have been lost. Because the supply of quality seed tubers is limited, the majority of farmers rely on farmer-saved seed (FSS) and, secondly, on expensive imported seed, much of which is poorly adapted to local conditions.

image_previewThese problems often deny poor consumers access to a crop that could greatly reduce malnutrition. The absence of nutrient-rich food, a common occurrence in Central Asia, is responsible for high mortality rates among young mothers and children under the age of five.

CIP is helping national partners develop varieties resistant to biotic and abiotic stress, improve farmer-based seed production systems, develop effective management practices, and influence policies that promote more durable management of natural resources.

Priorities for this area include

  • Development of high yielding, disease resistant, and drought and heat tolerant varieties for long day conditions
  • Development of appropriate technologies and practices for improved crop management and increased water use efficiency for potato cultivation combined with risk analysis of water shortages for potato under climate change scenarios