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Eye on Potatoes: United Nations Announces 2008 International Year of the Potato

2008 the International Year of the Potato


March 7, 2008
By Marg Land


Topics

The General Assembly of the United
Nations (UN) recently declared 2008 the International Year of the
Potato. Citing the potato’s health benefits, strong nutrition profile
and ability to feed the masses, the designation was approved as a way
to help meet its Millennium Development Goals.

iyp_logoThe General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) recently declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato. Citing the potato’s health benefits, strong nutrition profile and ability to feed the masses, the designation was approved as a way to help meet its Millennium Development Goals.

According to the UN, world population is expected to grow, on average, by more than 100 million people per year in the next 20 years, and 95 per cent of this increase will occur in developing countries where resources are scarce. The UN will not be able to provide food relief for all of these people and needs to teach people how to feed themselves. Potatoes can be grown quickly and cheaply. In fact, they yield more nutritious food more quickly on less land and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Potatoes have provided food security and alleviated poverty worldwide for centuries.

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“The World Potato Congress (WPC) strongly supports the United Nation’s decision to celebrate the International Year of the Potato, which recognizes the strategic importance of this highly productive crop,” said Allan Parker, a well-known Canadian potato producer and current president of the WPC. “We at the World Potato Congress fully endorse recognition of the vital role played by the potato across the globe.”

U.S. Potato Board (USPB) chairman Larry Alsum echoed that sentiment.

“I’ve always been proud to be a part of an industry that grows a nutritious product,” said Alsum, “but I’m particularly proud … to know the potato is also an international staple capable of solving world hunger issues.”

The celebration was officially launched at the UN as part of World Food Day.
The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Dr. Jacques Diouf, of the UN jointly proclaimed the year-long commemoration in front of the entire UN delegation, media, school children and honoured guests.

For more information about the desig-nation, visit the official International Year of the Potato website at www.potato2008.org.