Targeted Response

Early-maturing agile potato varieties, particularly a 70- to 90-day potato resistant to heat and viruses and with good processing quality, are a profitable and nutritious complement to low-income cereals in lowland and highlands of South China, North Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and the plains of Nepal and East Pakistan. In Central Asia, the crop offers a valid alternative to fallow between two consecutive wheat crops, thus creating huge opportunities for potato cultivation.

Tajik scientist prepares seed tubers for trial

CIP offers elite, tropically adapted bred populations and “candidate potato varieties” with short growing seasons of 70–80 days in subtropical climates and 90–100 days in temperate ones. These varieties are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases. They can bring new areas under potato cultivation in cereal-based systems and increase overall food productivity. Short-duration, drought-tolerant potato will give flexibility in planting and harvesting time without putting pressure on scarce land and water resources. In the Asia-Pacific region, potato is grown on about 7.3 million ha, producing about 121.7 million MT of potatoes with an average productivity of 16.49 MT/ha. The contribution of the Asia-Pacific region to the world area and production of potato is 39.3% and 37.7%, respectively.

The research on the agile potato will consider the study of sustainable cultivation practices and the environmental impact of introducing the potato on cereal-based cropping systems of Asia. Trade-off analysis in terms of labor, nutrients, water, and other input use will be measured to assess the beneficial impact on the four key elements of food security: food’s availability, accessibility, utilization, and vulnerability.

CIP’s 40 years of experience operating in Asia will be key to empowering the poor for sustainable gains and better income from agriculture. Expertise includes linking farmers with markets, value chain assessment, ICM, systems analysis, natural resource management, and phytosanitary and logistic aspects of exchange of advanced breeding materials. CIP can adapt experience in participatory variety selection (PVS) and farmer field schools (FFS) that will accelerate fast adoption of varieties and technologies for increasing farmer incomes. Our work spans collaborative research, policy and advocacy, and on-the-ground delivery, making the Center unique as a bridge between upstream and downstream research. CIP’s understanding of diverse systems, combined with its established networking presence, can help develop and adapt technologies and practices to smallholder farmers, especially poor and female agricultural workers. Through networking and an adequate study of value chains it would be possible to identify gaps, bottlenecks, and opportunities and discover causes of price volatility that makes potato uneconomical in certain markets due to overproduction. This can be resolved through the establishment of regional trade to harmonize market exchanges and abolish trade barriers that may occur occasionally to protect local production. Although this would be outside of CIP’s direct capabilities, CIP could generate and provide the scientific evidence to decision makers in targeted countries.

Menu Title