Learning English - Words in the News
21 March, 2008 - Published 12:00 GMT
International Year of the 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:
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
an exotic gift