Singing the praise of the humble potato
Thanks to the PR instincts of a North County Dublin company, Ireland now has its own National Potato Day.
The Irish Times highlighted the top 5 “potato related moments in Irish history”. Anyone reading the list will be convinced that we might want to laugh at the humble spud, but that it would be more appropriate to celebrate it.
In short: the potato can play a big role in providing food security and eradicating poverty, and helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The potato is a staple, nutritious and inexpensive source of food.
“It is really a hidden treasure,” said Paolo Garonna, Officer in Charge of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe. “It is a hidden treasure from the point of view of the long-term objectives of the U.N. It is the most widely grown tuber crop. It is the fourth largest food crop after rice, wheat and corn. It is a global food staple…Potatoes are easy to grow, even in harsh environments. They have a high-energy content. They can be produced from a very small area of land. So, I think small peasants and poor families can grow potatoes. They are rich in vitamin C.”
Not unimportant, in a world where some 1 billion people suffer from chronic hunger and under-nutrition. The United Nations have noted that, while the price of most food commodities has skyrocketed in recent years, the cost of potatoes has remained relatively low.
So, even if our National Potato Day has some commercial overtones, it is good to pause and reflect, and celebrate the potato as one of the elements in our international battle to overcome extreme poverty and hunger.
- “Potatoes are nuggets to save Ethiopia as Ireland shares years of expertise” (Irish Times, September 2014)
- Irish charity tackling African hunger – with potatoes (The Journal.ie, October 2013)
- “The Humble Potato combats Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa” (European Commission, April 2013)
- “Food for Thought” – video by Development Perspectives (April 2013)
- “€5 million potato growing programme announced for Ethiopia” (June 2012)
- Hunger, the face of poverty (briefing paper)
- Hunger, a political problem (blog post)
- Potatoes on the front line against hunger (video)
- Hunger is much more than not having enough to eat (blog post)
- Lessons learned from droughts (blog post)
- Quinoa – Every Silver Lining has a Cloud (blog post)
Entry filed under: MDGs. Tags: Agriculture, Disasters, Emergencies, EU, eu2013ie, Famine, Food, global poverty, Gorta, Gorta Mór, Hunger, Ireland, Irish EU Presidency, Irish Famine, Irish History, MDGs, Millennium Development Goals, National Potato Day, NGOs, Overseas aid, Potato, Potatoes, Quinoa, spuds, super food, super foods, UN.