International Day of Potato 2024 on May 30 themed 'Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope'

International Day of Potato 2024

'Harvesting diversity, feeding hope' is the theme of International Day of Potato 2024

May 14, 2024

The first-ever United Nations-recognized International Day of Potato will be celebrated on May 30. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has released a "get involved guide" to celebrate the International Day of Potato 2024.

It has suggestions for potato industry ecosystem participants — government bodies, business organizations, educators and parents, NGOs, and farmers — for organizing events and activities to mark the day. The theme of this historic event for the potato industry is "Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope."

A key focus area of the International Day of Potato is maintaining diversity, as over-reliance on a few varieties will expose potato crops to pests, diseases. Wild varieties need to be conserved as their heritable traits can be used in plant breeding to increase resilience and nutrients in the cultivated varieties.

Announcing the theme for International Day of Potato 2024 FAO’s Plant Production and Protection department stated, "The theme underscores the fact that with over 5000 improved varieties, and farmers’ varieties/landraces of the crop, there are ample choices for the needs of diverse production systems, culinary preferences and industrial applications, especially in these turbulent times, when many agrifood systems are in peril around the world."

The observance of International Day of Potato 2024 highlights the role of small-scale family farmers, with women constituting a significant portion of them, in protecting the crop’s diversity. It will also celebrate the cultural and culinary aspects of potato cultivation and consumption.

Besides, various constraints in the crop’s value chain will also be highlighted to seek their redressal, the World Potato Congress said in a release. Chikelu Mba, Deputy Director of the FAO Plant Production and Protection Division:

"The Day goes beyond celebrating the many nutritional and livelihood benefits of this important crop to recognize the past and current small-scale farmers, who as custodians of the thousands of native varieties of potato for several millennia, have bequeathed this enormous diversity to us."

As a precursor to the International Day of Potato, the World Potato Congress organized a webinar on Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope' by André Devaux & Chikelu Mba on April 29, with André Devaux, a Member of the World Potato Congress’ Board of Directors, and Chikelu Mba.

The Get Involved Guide suggests measures to promote sustainable potato production and consumption. It calls on governments and international bodies to provide a conducive environment by supporting research and strengthening the crop’s value chain by setting up more cold storage and making available quality seeds. It suggests potato-based businesses provide customers with more innovative and nutritious products, and minimize waste.

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