With more than 45 years of research-for-development work in potato and sweetpotato, the International Potato Center (CIP) has contributed to greater food and nutrition security, economic growth and prosperity. CIP breeders and plant scientists work with local partners and farmers to develop and manage potato and sweetpotato varieties that are more resilient to the extremes of climate, pests and diseases, produce higher yields, and have better nutritional and culinary qualities.
Our social, nutrition and food scientists bring the same dedication to helping rural farmers and communities understand, adopt, and profit from agricultural and postharvest technologies and best practices tailored for different agro-ecologies, production systems and value chains. In partnership with governments, businesses and international organizations, we are scaling these science innovations and approaches, putting the tools for better harvests, incomes and health into the hands of millions of farmers, processors, traders and their communities.
Tapping the potential of root and tuber crops
In 2018, an estimated 821 million people around the world were chronically undernourished. Farmers in the world’s poorest regions struggle to produce enough food and earn decent incomes due to a lack of high-yielding varieties and quality seed, poor agronomic practices, overdependence on monocropping and barriers to market access. Population growth and climate change are making the challenges of nourishing the planet even more daunting.
In response to the agricultural development challenges of the 21st century, CIP has organized its mission and activities around three programs. Two of those programs focus on R&D to enhance the ability of sweetpotato and potato to improve the food and nutrition security, livelihoods and climate resilience of smallholder farmers and other value chain actors in different agro-ecologies worldwide. To guide our work and measure its value, we have set 10-year targets with a timeline to ensure our innovations are widely disseminated, benefiting increasing numbers of people through Africa, Asia and Latin America. The third program focuses on the CIP genebank, which safeguards collections of sweetpotato, potato and Andean root and tuber crop diversity that form the foundation of CIP’s R&D operations and results-oriented initiatives.
CIP also leads the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), a collaboration of various research centers that seeks to harness the untapped potential of potato, sweetpotato, banana, cassava and yam to improve the food security, nutrition, income, climate change resilience and gender equity of smallholders in the developing world. The cross-crop learning and partnerships facilitated by RTB expand CIP’s scope and effectiveness.