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SpirE-Journal 2008 Q1

International Year of The Potato 2008

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International Year of The Potato 2008

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2008 to be the International Year of The Potato (IYP) to recognize the humble spud’s contribution to the global food system as the world’s number one non-grain food commodity and fourth most important food crop after maize, wheat and rice.

Amidst rising food prices and concerns about food shortages, global awareness of the humble potato as a substitute for other staple foods is increasing. IYP will also be a platform for the UN to address hunger, poverty and environmental issues to advance its Millennium Development Goals.

Although the per capita consumption of potatoes in developing countries is only a quarter of what Europeans consumed (see table 1), this amount is expected to rise significantly in the future.

The production of potatoes has grown, on average, by 4 to 5 percent a year for the past 10 years. This is a high rate of growth when compared to other food commodities produced in developing countries.

Future growth in the production and consumption of potatoes in developing countries is expected to be driven by Asia, which is home to over half the world’s population. Expect to see more Asian dishes and recipes including a spud or two in future!

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