Potato Contributes to Food Security, but also to Land Degradation
Potato culture contributes to food security and reduces poverty in the developing countries, according to the report “Potatoes and the sustainable agriculture and food systems”, presented by Tania Santivanez, Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia at Food Agriculture and Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at Europatat Congress 2018.
According to the FAO officer, the role of potato in worldwide system is important because it is included in the firsts three most important crops in the world, the global potato production has grown in the past years, particularly in the developing countries, it is a staple food, small holders and family farming around the world are part of this sector and their economy depend on it and it contributes to food security.
On the other hand, Santivanez underlined the challenges and opportunities in the production subsystem: the climate change impacts on the potato production, the intensive potato cultivation leads to an increasing pest and diseases pressure and use of pesticides. The intensive cultivation leads to erosion and soil pollution and to genetic erosion since the agriculture uses just a few breeds out of the nearly 3,000 existing ones.
However, her presentation also underlined the main challenges in agriculture and food systems, such as land degradation, soil pollution which poses serious threat to agricultural productivity, food safety and human health, changes in distribution of animal diseases and their vectors, crop tranboundary pests and diseases, the fact that global food systems generate one-third of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of frequency of extreme events and annual economic costs (USD 50 -100 billion worldwide).
Furthermore, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 and more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these over 650 million adults were obese (WHO, 2016). At the same time, undernourished people increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. Among the challenges, we also could find out that more of 1.3000 million of food are loss and waste globally.