The UN proclaims May 30 as International Potato Day

The UN has decided to honor the potato. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) on Saturday welcomed the establishment of an international day for this tuber. The objective is to “raise awareness” among public opinion about the key role of this culture in the fight against malnutrition.

The United Nations adopted a resolution on Friday proclaiming May 30 as International Potato Day, a “celebration” which, according to the FAO, will “highlight the importance of the potato for global agriculture, development economic, food security and nutrition. The UN had already made 2008 the international year of the potato, the FAO also recalled.

A day defended by Peru

This annual celebration was defended by Peru, “which submitted a proposal for adoption to the United Nations General Assembly on the basis of a resolution of the FAO Conference of July 7, 2023,” the latter indicated.

In addition to the fight against famine, this world day will “encourage agricultural development, food security, conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functions,” declared Victor Garcia Toma, permanent representative of Peru to the General Assembly. of the United Nations. Peru, home to several thousand varieties of this tuber and an international potato center (CIP), is one of the cradles of this crop.

“A climate-friendly culture”

The ancient food, originating from the South American Andes region, arrived in Europe in the 16th century and then spread throughout the world, helps “improve livelihoods in rural areas and other areas where resources “Natural resources, particularly arable land and water, are limited and inputs expensive,” FAO stressed. Additionally, potatoes “are also a climate-friendly crop because they produce low levels of greenhouse gas emissions compared to other crops,” according to the UN agency.

Potato production is nevertheless “facing several threats and challenges, in particular pests and diseases”, such as late blight, several bacterial diseases or the Colorado potato beetle, and many others, recalled the FAO, which intends to “help its members build resilient and context-adapted value chains for potatoes”.

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