Can Potatoes Save the World from Global Hunger?

May 18, 2008 01:47 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The humble potato is being rediscovered, as prices rise for other staple foods and concerns grow about the future of the world’s food supply.

30-Second Summary

The potato is being pushed as a solution to global hunger, reports Reuters. A growing world population, rising prices for staple foods such as wheat and rice, rising costs for fertilizer and diesel, and biofuel production are all heightening concerns about the world’s food supply.

“The shocks to the food supply are very real and that means we could potentially be moving into a reality where there is not enough food to feed the world,” said Pamela Anderson, director of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

In Peru, the government is encouraging its citizens to eat bread made from potato flour. Chinese agriculture experts are proposing that the potato become a major food crop. India is planning to double its potato production, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

“We have to change people’s eating habits,” said Ismael Benavides, Peru’s agriculture minister. “People got addicted to wheat when it was cheap.”

The World Bank predicts that the rise in global food prices will not be temporary. Potatoes now offer an inexpensive alternative to suddenly costly grains.

The United Nations has even declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato to raise awareness of the food, and CBS News reports that the potato’s reputation as an unhealthy food is undeserved.

Headline Link: ‘As other staples soar, potatoes break new ground’

Related topics: Potato prominence

Background: Rising food prices foreshadow global shortages

Reference: One potato, two potato


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