Special feature: International Day of Potato 2024 – Harvesting diversity, feeding hope

Special feature: International Day of Potato 2024 – Harvesting diversity, feeding hope

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The International Day of the Potato 2024, May 30, is celebrated under the theme “Harvesting diversity, feeding hope,” bringing together innovation, resilience, and hope across Africa. YenKasa Africa celebrates this day by showcasing various potato stories, highlighting the continent’s diverse efforts to improve agriculture and food security.

Potatoes are a key crop across diverse farming systems globally. As the third most consumed food crop globally, they contribute to the food security and nutrition, livelihoods, and employment of people in rural and urban areas worldwide, providing hope for millions of farmers. By promoting good agricultural practices and providing access to quality seeds, training, and innovative technologies, farmers can boost their productivity and incomes. Additionally, sustainable potato production systems enhance climate adaptation and biodiversity, while the potato value chain creates substantial employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly for women and young people.

At the Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) 2023, discussions centered on creating sustainable jobs for youth in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, showcasing the opportunities available. Young leaders like Daniel Opanga highlighted the rising demand for byproducts of sweet potatoes, which creates excellent opportunities for potential new businesses. This aligns with the International Day of Potatoes’ “Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope” theme by emphasizing the need to involve youth in transforming agrifood systems and addressing challenges such as climate change. FAO’s strategic framework and initiatives, like the Opportunities for Youth in Africa (OYA) program and African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA) platform, further underscore empowering youth in agriculture, ensuring inclusive economic development, and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Bitrus Gomas, a 51-year-old potato farmer from central Nigeria, regularly lost nearly half of his produce due to inadequate storage conditions, reflecting a common challenge among farmers in the region where up to 40% of stored potato seeds are lost within the first three months. However, through a radio program and training from Farm Radio International and Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC), funded by the German government, Gomas found solutions to his post-harvest loss issues. The radio program “Dankali Rumbun Arziki” (Potato is the hub of wealth) became an “answered prayer” for Gomas and other farmers, reaching over 10 million listeners and significantly improving their knowledge of good agricultural practices for potato production. Through the program, Gomas learned to select disease-free seeds and build proper storage facilities, leading to higher yields, reduced post-harvest losses, and additional income generation by leasing the storage facility to other farmers. This success story exemplifies how targeted interventions and knowledge-sharing platforms like radio programs can empower farmers, enhance agricultural productivity, and contribute to food security, aligning with the International Day of Potatoes objectives and the theme of “Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope.”

Farm Radio International also initiated the “Radio enabling green innovations at scale” project, using radio to promote good agricultural practices. Farmers like Faith, Phoebe, and Silas benefited significantly through this project in Nigeria’s central Plateau State. They learned techniques to improve yields, combat diseases like late blight, and access better markets, leading to increased income and improved living conditions. These stories highlight the transformative impact of agricultural innovation and underscore the significance of celebrating the International Day of Potatoes in promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing farmers’ livelihoods.

Finally, as we commemorate the International Day of Potatoes, let us reflect on the invaluable contributions of this humble tuber to our lives, livelihoods, and landscapes. May the stories shared today inspire us to continue nurturing diversity, fostering hope, and striving for a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Explore the YenKasa Africa sites for related information on potato farming and the potato value chain in Africa via the links below;


  1. Seeds and storage: How radio reduced post-harvest loss of potatoes in Nigeria
  2. Identifying opportunities for youth in agrifood systems in Africa
  3. Spotlight: 10 years on, Uganda’s Radio Simba develops sustainable radio programs on orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  4. Timely broadcasts yield better potato harvests in Nigeria
  5. If you can think it, you can do it: The story of Lizzy Idoko
  6. Farmer Field Schools take on El Niño induced drought in Zimbabwe