Harnessing the power of wild potatoes to feed a climate-challenged world while reducing agrochemical use
The Crop Trust traveled to Cusco, Peru, to visit the Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), the center of origin of the potato. (Photo: Luis Salazar for Crop Trust)
21 December 2022
Lima, Peru, December 21, 2022 – As the global population burgeons past 8 billion and climate change makes it harder to grow food, scientists in South America are tapping the power of wild potatoes to breed disease-resistant and resilient varieties that can enable farmers to produce more food while reducing their use of agrochemicals.
The recent release of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) disease-resistant CIP-Matilde variety in Peru is the result of years of work and investment in conserving and studying potato wild relatives and using them to breed potatoes that combine characteristics that consumers want with the wild potatoes’ ability to cope with diseases and climate extremes. By transferring those attributes into cultivated potatoes through conventional breeding, and working with farmers to select the best ones, CIP is developing potatoes with great potential to improve the food security, income and wellbeing of rural families.