International Potato Center (CIP)

  • Director General

    Barbara Wells

  • Board Chair

    Rodney D. Cooke

  • Headquarters

    Lima - Peru

  • Website

Roots and tubers improving the lives of the poor.  The International Potato Center, known by its Spanish acronym CIP, was founded in 1971 as a root and tuber research-for-development institution to deliver sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources.

CIP is truly a global center, with headquarters in Lima, Peru and offices in 18 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Working closely with partners worldwide, CIP seeks to achieve food security, increased well-being, and gender equity for poor people in root and tuber farming, and food systems in the developing world. CIP furthers its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology, and capacity strengthening among farmers and partners.

CIP and its partners work across the agricultural spectrum. From the laboratory to the marketplace, CIP biologists, entomologists, agronomists, nutritionists, and social scientists conduct research and carry out projects.

The Potato… and other roots and tubers.

CIP’s research originally focused on the potato, which originated and was first domesticated in the Andean Highlands.  Produced in over 100 countries, the potato is the world’s third most important food crop after rice and wheat.  The potato is a resilient tuber that grows underground making it more robust to climate changes.  Together with roots, tubers play a critical role in the global food system, especially in the developing world. They are among the most commonly consumed food staples and provide one of the cheapest sources of energy and vital nutrients.  Additionally, they grow in marginal conditions with relatively few inputs and simple techniques – making them ideal “climate-smart” crops.

Sweetpotato is a cheap, nutritious solution for developing countries needing to grow more food on less land for rapidly multiplying populations. The orange-fleshed varieties of sweetpotato can play a key role in alleviating vitamin A deficiency, which is rampant among children in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Roots and tubers share important scientific similarities. They are vegetatively-propagated, meaning that they are not grown from seed but from cuttings or clones. As these crops are often locally grown and consumed, they are less affected than grains by food price fluctuations.


CIP’s programs focus on six strategic objectives. Three programs are in the research and development space and designed to deliver shorter term solutions to food security in our target commodities and geographies by going to scale with flagship technologies. Two programs address more upstream research for development with the intention of delivering future research outputs, through the discovery flagships, representing longer term solutions for development. A sixth program, on biodiversity conservation and use, underlines our continuing commitment to protect and utilize the world potato and sweetpotato collections.

The Center’s global priorities include sustaining root and tuber biodiversity; breeding more nutritious, adaptable, pest-and-disease-resistant varieties; and building resilient agro-economic-social systems for marginal populations in developing countries.

CIP’s six Programs include:

  1. Resilient Nutritious Sweetpotato
  2. Agile Potato for Asia
  3. Potato Seed for Africa
  4. Game Changing Solutions
  5. Resilient Food Systems
  6. Conserving Biodiversity for the Future: The Genebank

Targeted Regions

Using the “Pro-Poor Research and Development” model, CIP completed a rigorous targeting exercise to identify regional priorities. The first step was defining the agro-ecological regions where potato and other root and tuber cultivation are widespread among poor people, and where increasing productivity is most likely to enhance their livelihoods. These data were then combined with an analysis of livelihood indicators (income per capita, nutritional status, child mortality rates, maternal mortality, etc.).

CIP’s targeted regions include:

  1. Latin America and the Caribbean
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa
  3. Asia

Building partnerships, promoting gender equity, and developing climate smart solutions are themes common to all CIP research.

Feature image: Emmanuel Habimana is one of 79 Decentralised Vine MultiplIers supported by The International Potato Centre in Rwanda. Photo by: Hugh Rutherford for CIP

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Address: Av. La Molina 1895, La Molina — Lima 12, Peru
Ph: +51 1 349 6017
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Media and Communications

Maria Elena Lanatta, Media  and Communications Specialist – Peru,
Ph: +51 1 349 6017 ext 3010

Vivian Atakos, Regional Communications Specialist – Africa,