With ISO accreditation, CIP is
functioning at a standard far higher
than would be expected for an
organization of its type.
“The ISO accreditation really means something.
It raises the quality of our service and
guarantees that we are operating at a much
higher level than would be expected for this
type of organization – it’s a standard that you
normally see only in industrial labs.”
Janny Van Beem, Head,
CIP’s Acquisitions and Distribution Unit.
Obtaining and maintaining ISO
accreditation is not easy. It involves
rigorous processes, validations, and
quality controls, which are reviewed
annually through intensive ISO
audits. CIP’s is the first genebank to
reach this standard.
The accreditation requires careful
documentation of how both plant
material and information move
across the entire acquisition to
Staff must be able to document
that they have received special
training. And there are strict
guidelines regarding policies,
protocols, workflow, procedures,
records, and quality control.
And it’s thanks to Atlassian’s
Community License for the free
and open access to the
Confluence Wiki application that
CIP has been able to do this.
Without it, just getting started
would have involved
To qualify for the ISO accreditation:
• Over 500 documents, processes, and sources of
information had to be compiled and organized.
• Processes, certifications, and materials had to
be verified, with proper sign-offs.
• Multiple people, in locations around the world,
needed to access, share, review, change, and
True to its slogan, the
Confluence Wiki provided a
way to create, share, find,
discover, and discuss
content. But more than that
it also helped CIP to:
Save an enormous amount of time.
We were able to compile and validate
the material needed for the
accreditation process in 6 months
instead of usual 1-2 years required.
Maintain a normal workflow.
Less time spent compiling
information meant more time for
our scientists to do their jobs and
get the training they needed as
part of ISO standards.
Stay on schedule.
All aspects of the acquisition,
management, and distribution of
germplasm were brought into the
system, with participation from staff
of the genebank, pathogen testing,
distribution, administration, and
The time savings led to big cost
savings. But also, the shared platform
of the Wiki meant that we could train
staff on formats, paperwork, and work
flows more efficiently and effectively.
Run internal audits,
which we used for our
own monitoring and
And go green.
The paper-less system helped save
trees. The collaborative software and
remote access for multiple users cut
down on the amount of travel needed
to bring people together from around
the globe – reducing the project’s
“It is a real time saver and enabler. The ability
to quickly load and share information means
we have been able to focus on the community,
tapping each members’ technical expertise,
streamlining monitoring and review, and
promoting the collaborative process.”
Head, CIP’s Research Informatics Unit
Because the system is flexible and
easily updated, it continues to offer
Having access to CIP’s planting
material, with the assurance that it
does not harbor diseases or pests,
can make the difference between
having enough to eat – or not.
Diseases such as late blight, which
was implicated in the Irish potato
famine, can wipe out a crop of
potatoes in a matter of weeks. The
same is true for pests and insects,
which cause 30-50% of crop yield
losses in developing countries.
For 40 years, CIP has been
working to reduce hunger and
improve lives through scientific
advancement, innovations, and
At the heart of this work is the
development and distribution of
potato and sweetpotato varieties that
can produce greater yields, meet the
needs and preferences of poor
farmers, and adapt to the rapidly
shifting pressures of climate change.
CIP scientists and their
partners breed, adapt, and
test improved varieties all
over the developing world.
And why is that significant? Because the
world is not winning its battle against hunger.
In 2009, the number of people going to bed
hungry reached more than 1 billion. The world
population is reaching 8 billion, and growing
by more than 100 million people a year. Most
of them live in developing countries, where
pressures on natural resources and arable
land are already intense.
So, we must do more with less. And potato and
sweetpotato are an important part of the solution.
They are the third and sixth most consumed food
staples in the world. They are rich in energy and
key nutrients and able to grow on marginal lands,
with less water and more potential productivity
than other crops. Potatoes and sweetpotatoes
also offer potential to improve the incomes and
livelihoods of the farmers who produce them,
their families, and their communities.
But the challenge is to get
healthy, high-yielding varieties
to the people who need them:
The differences are enormous. Even to the
untrained eye, the yields and outcomes of
healthy planting material are far better than
those of overused, diseased, or infested
varieties. That’s why it matters so much that
every step we take at CIP to handle and
deliver our germplasm is done with the
utmost care and to the highest standards.
Local variety CIP improved variety
We are proud of the work we do at CIP.
We take pride in having the first
genebank in the world to achieve ISO
certification – and in having an
interactive web-based system to
manage it that is seen as a model.
Others have taken interest in emulating
our Atlassian-supported system.
And we hope it will help them,
too, in making advances to
help improve our world.
International Potato Center (CIP)
PO Box 1558 Lima 12
Peru 51 1 349 6017
Visit us at: www.cipotato.org
CIP’s Atlassian Community License
Providing another tool in the arsenal to
help combat global hunger and poverty
International Potato Center