Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. Its importance in food and nutritional security of the world had led to the official declaration of the year 2008 as the International Year of the Potato by the United Nations, which was celebrated internationally with much fanfare and in India also a Global Potato Conference was organized in December 2008 at New Delhi to mark the event. More than a decade elapsed after that and it is high time now to deliberate on the decadal progress in the potato sector with a view to prepare a roadmap for next ten years aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation.
The growth of potato in the world has been phenomenal during last six decades (1961 to 2016). During the period, although the area under potato has decreased from 22.1 to 19.2 million hectare, the production increased by nearly 40% (270.6 to 376.8 million tonnes) with a productivity increase of about 60% (12.2 to 19.5 t/ha). With accelerated economic development world over and change in food habit, there is ample opportunity for more demand of potato in terms of fresh consumption, processing, export, as well as quality seed. This would lead to diversification in production, consumption, utilization, and trade, thereby boosting world economy. To meet the growing demand, world over potato production needs to increase by 89% to 711.5 million tonnes by 2050. However, increasing cost of cultivation, especially farm inputs (quality seeds and fertilizers cost), comparatively less price of fresh potato produce, stagnation in productivity, decreasing cultivable land area, more complex biotic and abiotic stresses, inadequate availability of quality seeds and variety, post-harvest losses, meager value addition, and the changing climate are posing serious threats to sustainable potato production and utilization. To meet the future challenges and utilize the opportunities that emerge ahead, further strengthening of research and development network for increasing productivity would be necessary. Various issues in different potato value chains need to be addressed with sound scientific background and the new frontiers need to be identified in potato research and development. The Global Potato Conclave will provide an opportunity to bring all stakeholders at one common platform so that all the issues are discussed and future plans are made involving everyone related to the potato sector. The Global Potato Conclave is proposed to be held during 28–31 January 2020 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India to highlight achievements and opportunities in the area of potato research, trade and industry, and value chain management.
Global Potato Conclave 2020
Dr SK Chakrabarti
Chairman, Organizing Committee Director , ICAR - CPRI Shimla,
Himachal Pradesh -171001 , India