Recently I visited
PotatoEurope 2010 in Bockenrode, Germany.
Four years ago I visited the first time
PotatoEurope was organized and it was good
to be back at PotatoEurope in Germany, once
again at the same location.
that first time, the tradeshow PotatoEurope
has been held in Belgium, France and The
Netherlands following the unique rotation
of this event.
PotatoEurope was a great opportunity
to meet a whole lot of people and companies
that we publish about in PotatoPro on a
regular basis and that was great. But the
highlight for me was the opening night at
the Hannover Congress Center, in particular
the key note address by Pamela Anderson,
Director General of the International Potato
Center (CIP) in Peru.
View the slides of the presentation:
“The contribution of potatoes to global
Warning: 3MB pdf!
Pamela Anderson, Director General
International Potato Center (CIP)
mission of the International Potato Center
is “to achieve food security, well-being
and gender equity for poor people in root
and tuber farming and food systems in the
developing world.” CIP does this
through research and innovation in science
and capacity strengthening, in 30 centers
throughout the developing world.
Pamela Anderson addressed the role
of potato in the food security and highlighted
developments such as: the growing importance
of the potato cultivation in the developing
world because potatoes are cheap and nutritious
and is a very efficient crop in terms of
the production of edible energy per hectare.
Many features of the potato that were also
highlighted in the
International Year of the Potato, 2008
She also talked about
the cooperation of CIP with China, worlds
largest potato growing country and the role
of CIP in the preservation of the native
heritage potatoes of the Andes, a topic
that she stated could keep her up at night.
There Pamela gave us a teaser: She referred
to an upcoming announcement regarding a
fund to support this cause, to be announced
on October 1 of this year (drumroll…).
She also addressed the nutritional
benefits of the potato – a topic close to
my heart - and there she highlighted a topic
that I had not heard too much about. Reason
enough to put it here in the spotlight:
the contribution and in particular the
future potential of the
potato to play a role in the delivery of
the minerals Iron (Fe)
and Zinc (Zn). Iron deficiency
is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency
in the world and is an important contributor
to anemia. Pamela pointed out that 3.5 billion
people in the developing world have an Iron
deficit. Micronutrient deficiency is called
the “hidden hunger”, with women and children
being the primary victims. Biofortification
is one of the approaches to tackle this
has an important research project in this
area: a large number of native potatoes
have been screened for their potential and
the range of variation.
The objective is to use this natural
variability in the potato to develop potato
varieties that are high in Iron (Fe) and
Zinc (Zn) with a breeding target for Iron
of 39 mg/kg dry weight. Progress to date
So before too long – OK, granted,
breeding is typically not the fastest process
– we might be touting the potato not only
for being rich in vitamin C , vitamin B,
Potassium and as a rich source of polyfenols/anti-oxidants,
but also for its high iron and zinc content……
The potato proves to be even more
nutritious and versatile than we thought!
Paul van Eijck