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International Potato Day 2024: Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope

This year, the world will celebrate the first-ever International Potato Day on May 30th. In December 2023, the United Nations General Assembly designated May 30th as International Potato Day to be observed annually. The intent is to raise awareness of the immense nutritional, economic, environmental and cultural value of the humble potato.

The potato’s Andean Origins

The potato has its origins in the Andes region of South America. It represents one of the most important food contributions from that region to the entire world. Today, potatoes rank among the top five staple food crops consumed globally, playing a vital role in ensuring food security.

Potatoes’ Versatility and Sustainability

According to the UN, “Potatoes are an important component of strategies to provide accessible and nutritious food and improved livelihoods in rural and other areas where natural resources, especially arable land and water are limited and inputs expensive.” The potato’s versatility allows it to grow in a variety of conditions, including harsh environments. It is also a relatively climate-friendly crop, producing low greenhouse gas emissions.

Supporting Small Farmers

International Potato Day highlights the importance of potato production, especially by small-scale and family farmers in rural areas. Their cultivation of this crop supports efforts to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Women potato farmers play a key role in this endeavor. Growing potatoes also contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity.

2024 Theme: Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope

The theme for the inaugural International Potato Day is “Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope.” This highlights how potato biodiversity can address food insecurity and malnutrition around the world. The different colors, sizes and nutrient profiles of potato varieties represent an untapped resource for nourishing populations in an environmentally sustainable manner.

A Global Food Staple

Potatoes are one of the world’s most vital food resources and income generators for rural families and producers. By establishing this annual observance, the UN hopes to implement its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve related goals like Zero Hunger. International Potato Day will promote the potato’s multiple benefits and its contribution to building a food-secure future.

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