This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in: Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
21 March, 2008 - Published 12:00 GMT
International Year of the Potato
A potato

This week the United Nations Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) announced a competition to mark the International Year of the Potato intended to highlight the common vegetable's potential to improve food security in the developing world. This report from Kate Poland:

Listen to the story

Boiled, baked, roasted or fried the potato is a versatile vegetable. It also produces nutritious food quicker and on less land than any other major crop. Which is why the FAO is promoting it.

It's calling for photographers around the world - amateur and professional - to focus on the humble spud's potential to feed more people. Although not generally regarded as particularly photogenic, the organisers say that the photographers who explore the world of the potato will find plenty of inspiration. And the best portraits will win up to four thousand dollars.

The potato was first cultivated by hunter-gatherers in the Andes thousands of years ago. After the Spanish conquest of Peru in the sixteenth century the tuber was brought to Europe where it was considered an exotic gift. By the nineteenth century it had become a staple across the continent.

It is a good source of energy and protein and a medium-sized potato provides half the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. As the global population increases and pressure on land and water in developing countries intensifies, the potato could just prove to be buried treasure.

Kate Poland, BBC

Listen to the words

can be used for many things

nutritious food
food which contains many things that people need to be healthy

a common word in British English for a potato

looking good in photographs

produced and grown in large quantities

a term for ancient peoples who survived by killing and eating wild animals and finding other foods

the tuber
the biological term for type of plant a potato is - it has a round part that grows under the ground and produces new plants

an exotic gift
a strange and unusual present

a staple
a basic and important food which is eaten widely as a part of most or many meals

gets greater

Latest stories
27 May, 2011
Destruction of smallpox virus delayed
25 May, 2011
Micro-finance 'misused and abused'
20 May, 2011
Lonely planets
18 May, 2011
Germany to invest in more electric cars
16 May, 2011
Argentina builds a tower of books
Other Stories