American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 78, Issue 6, pp 403–412 | Cite as

Global distribution of the potato crop

  • Robert J. HijmansEmail author


The global distribution of potato area is described using country-level statistics and a new geo-referenced database. There are two main peaks in global potato distribution by latitude. The major peak is between 45°N and 57°N and represents potato production zones in the temperate climates where potato is a summer crop. The other peak is between 23°N and 34°N, and mainly represents production zones in the subtropical lowlands, where potato is a winter crop. Between 1950 and 1998 potato production area increased at low latitudes and decreased at high latitudes, particularly around 53°N (this zone includes parts of Belarus, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine). The northern limit of potato production coincides with the boundaries of agriculture and the presence of human population. The peak between 23°N and 34°N coincides with the area of highest population density (per area of land and per area of arable land). About 25% of the global potato area is in the highlands (above 1000 m).

Additional key words

Solanum tuberosum crop geography geographic information systems GIS 


Para describir la distribución mundial del área de cultivo de papa hemos usado estadísticas a nivel de país y una nueva base de datos georreferenciada. Hay dos picos principales en la distribución global de papa de acuerdo a su latitud. El mayor está entre 45°N y 57°N y representa las zonas de producción de papa en los climas templados, donde la papa es un cultivo de verano. El otro pico se ubica entre los 23°N y 34°N, y representa principalmente la producción en zonas de las tierras bajas subtropicales, donde la papa es un cultivo de inverno. Entre 1950 y 1998 el área de producción de papa se incrementó en las latitudes bajas y decreció en las altas, particularmente alrededor de los 53°N (esta zona incluye partes de Bielorrusia, Alemania,


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Bertin, J., J.J. Hémardinquer, M. Keul, and W.G.L. Randies. 1971. Atlas of food crops. Geographical and chronological survey for an atlas of world history. École Pratique des Hautes études-Sorbonne. VIe Section: Sciences économiques et Sociales. Centre de Recherches Historiques et Laboratoire de Cartographie, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  2. Carter, S.E., L.O. Fresco, and P.G. Jones, with J.N. Fairbairn. 1992. An atlas of cassava in Africa. Historical, agroecological and demographic aspects of crop distribution. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Cali, Colombia.Google Scholar
  3. CIESIN. 2000. Global gridded population database. Available at Scholar
  4. Corbett, J.D., and R.F. O’Brien. 1997. The spatial characterization tool - Africa v 1.0. Texas Agriculture Experiment Station, Texas A&M University System, Blackland Research Center Rept #97-03, CDROM Publication.Google Scholar
  5. Crook, F.W. 1993. Under reporting of China’s cultivated area: Implications for world agricultural trade. In: China, international agriculture and trade reports. Situation and outlook series, RS-93-4. USDA, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. EIU and CDCP (Economist Intelligence Unit and the Cartographic Department of the Clarendon Press). 1954. Oxford Economic Atlas of the World. Oxford University Press, UK.Google Scholar
  7. EIU and CDCP (Economist Intelligence Unit and the Cartographic Department of the Clarendon Press). 1972. Oxford Economic Atlas of the World. Oxford University Press, UK.Google Scholar
  8. ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute). 1999. ESRI data & maps. Database. ESRI, Redlands, CAGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 1978-81. Report on the agro-ecological zones project. World soils resources report 48, Vol 1-4. FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  10. FAO. 2000a. Database at http://apps.fao.orgGoogle Scholar
  11. FAO. 2000b. Database at http://geoweb.fao.orgGoogle Scholar
  12. Finch, V.C., and O.E. Baker. 1917. Geography of the World’s Agriculture. Government printing office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  13. Haverkort, A.J. 1990. Ecology of potato cropping systems in relation to latitude and altitude. Agric Sys 32:251–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. He, W. 1997. Agronomic and ecological studies on the potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) in southwest China: Seed and crop management. PhD thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  15. Hijmans R.J., G.A. Forbes, and T.S. Walker. 2000. Estimating the global severity of potato late blight with GIS-Iinked disease forecast models. Plant Pathology 49:697–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huaccho L., and R.J. Hijmans. 1999. A global geo-referenced database of potato production for 1995-1997, GPOT97. Production Systems and Natural Resource Management Department Working Paper 1. International Potato Center, Lima, Peru.Google Scholar
  17. Huaccho L., and R.J. Hijmans. 2000. A geo-referenced database of global sweetpotato production. Production Systems and Natural Resource Management Working Paper 4. International Potato Center, Lima, Peru.Google Scholar
  18. Huke, R.E. 1982. Rice area by type of culture: South, southeast, and east Asia. International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Phillipines.Google Scholar
  19. Hyman, G. 1999. Crop distribution mapping: Applications and techniques for broad-scale analysis of crop geography. In: Pande, S., C. Johansen, J. Lauren, and F.T. Bantilan Jr. (eds), GIS Analysis of Cropping Systems. Proceedings of an International Workshop on Harmonization of Databases for GIS Analysis of Cropping Systems in the Asia Region. Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, and ICRISAT, Patencheru, India, pp. 91–96.Google Scholar
  20. New, M., M. Hulme, and P. Jones. 1999. Representing twentieth-century space-time climate variability. Part I: Development of a 1961-1990 mean monthly terrestrial climatology. J Climate 12:829–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rhoades, R.E. 1987. Potato production zones of developing countries, computerized maps (unpublished draft). International Potato Center.Google Scholar
  22. Scott, G.J., M.W. Rosegrant, and C. Ringler. 2000. Global projections for root and tuber crops to the year 2020. Food Policy 25(5): 561–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stol, W., Koning, P.L. Kooman, A.J. Haverkort, H.Van Keulen, and F.W.T.Penning de Vries. 1991. Agro-ecological characterization for potato production. A simulation study at the request of the International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru. CABO-DLO, Report 155. CABO-DLO, Wageningen, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  24. USGS-EDC (United States Geological Survey. EROS Data Center), n.d. 30-seconds (GTOPO30) and 5-minute (ETOPO5) global altitude databases. Online at: Scholar
  25. USGS-EDC (United States Geological Surveys EROS Data Center). 1998. 1-km global land cover characterization database. Online at: Scholar
  26. Van Royen, W. 1954. The Agricultural Resources of the World. Atlas of the World’s Resources, Vol. 1. Prentice Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Walker, T.S., P.E. Schmiediche, and R.J. Hijmans. 1999. World trends and patterns in the potato crop: An economic and geographic survey. Potato Res 42:241–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wood, S., K. Sebastian, and S.J. Scherr, 2000. Pilot analysis of global ecosystems: Agroecosystems. A joint study by International Food Policy Research Institute and World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  29. Wortmann, C.S., R.A. Kirkby, C.A. Eledu, and D.J. Allen, 1998. Atlas of common bean (Phaseolus valgaris L.) production in Africa. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Cali, Colombia.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Potato Center (CIP)Lima 12Peru

Personalised recommendations