The International Potato Center, the lead center of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), was honored to host Her Royal Highness Anne, Princess Royal at the center’s headquarters on Saturday, 16 September. The Princess Royal toured the world’s largest in vitro potato genebank which also houses one of the largest plant cryopreservation programs globally.
“It was an honor to welcome The Princess Royal to CIP,” said Dr. Oscar Ortiz, Deputy Director General. “We are thrilled with her continued interest in our work to achieve food security, well-being, and gender equity for poor people in root and tuber farming and food systems in the developing world.”
“I had a chance to talk with The Princess Royal about the work of RTB, and she was interested to learn that CIP was leading a program including bananas as well as roots and tubers,” said Dr. Graham Thiele, RTB Program Director. “I was especially impressed by her deep knowledge of nutrition and agriculture. She explained the work of the British scientist Elsie Widdowson and her team who had gone to the Lake District just after World War II when rationing was in place and had demonstrated that it’s possible to live on a diet mostly of potatoes for three months, as this provides all essential nutrients.”
The Princess Royal’s visit comes after a successful year for the organization with the launching of the Potatoes on Mars project – a series of experiments to test potato growth in extreme climates on Earth using Mars atmospheric conditions – and the awarding of the 2016 World Food Prize to CIP scientists Dr. Maria Andrade, Dr. Jan Low and Dr. Robert Mwanga for their work on biofortified crops to reduce hidden hunger and specifically vitamin A deficiency, one of the most pernicious forms of undernourishment in the developing world. Both projects were presented to The Princess Royal by Dr. Dorcus Gemenet and Dr. Hannele Lindqvist-Kreuze.
The visit was a follow on from The Princess Royal’s July 2007 visit to CIP’s headquarters.
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