First Independent Steering Committee gathered in Lima to review progress of RTB program

A report by Graham Thiele, RTB Director

RTB is delighted to have held the first face to face meeting of the Independent Steering Committee (ISC) at the International Potato Center in Lima from September 8-11, 2015. The ISC reviewed progress during the year, discussed and provided feedback on the new program structure, and endorsed the selection of flagship project leaders.


ISC members (from left to right) – Back: Jean-Christophe Glaszmann, Dunstan Spencer, Eugene Terry, Alfredo Augusto-Cunha Alves – Front: Yvonne Pinto, Helen Hambly, Ann Tutwiler, Barbara Wells, Graham Thiele, Rupert Best

Helen Hambly, Chair, explained that the ISC is very pleased with RTB program performance, as well as scientific advance and sees that a solid foundation has been laid for the submission of a full proposal for the second phase of RTB next year. The ISC also highlighted some areas, which need especial attention as we move forward. This includes ensuring the consistency of the different flagship projects with key linkages between the flagship project on resilient crops, and livelihood systems and in turn between the livelihood systems flagship and impact at scale. Helen also commended the RTB on good progress with gender research, which was made possible thanks to a strong team including the RTB gender research coordinator and center gender focal points, and looks forward to continuity in this work with improved focus on specific science areas.

The ISC visited ongoing RTB research at CIP and saw different demonstrations of state of the art technology. This included research into the genetics of salinity in potatoes, a growing problem in parts of Central Asia, and improving nutritional quality of potatoes, which can make a big contribution to improving diets by addressing micro-nutrient deficiency known as hidden hunger.


Awais Khan explains the trial with a diploid potato population to investigate genetic determinants of tolerance to salinity


Helen Hambly, ISC chair, tasting the delicious nutrient rich potatoes – look just like native potatoes

The ISC also visited the world famous Mistura gastronomic fair and saw and tasted at first hand the amazing diversity of foods in Peru, where RTB crops play a central role as well.

Tacacho a local specialty made of pounded fried plantain

Tacacho a local specialty made of pounded fried plantain


Can’t beat the tacacho and cecina at Mistura!










Yvonne Pinto and Maria Erquinigo of Bio Organicos Andinos and her display of local quinoa varieties at Mistura

More information on the Steering Committee here