Nikon digital SLRs are up for grabs in a United Nations (UN) photography competition that aims to highlight the role of the potato in fighting hunger and poverty.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched the worldwide contest to focus on the potato as a source of food, employment and income in developing countries.

Famed Magnum agency photographer Steve McCurry will help judge the competition which boasts an $11,000 prize pot and coincides with the UN?s International Year of the Potato.

The winner of the amateur category will bag a Nikon D60 digital SLR kit and $2,000 cash, while the top professional will walk away with a D300 and $4,000.

Prizes also include a Nikon D40, lenses and a Coolpix compact.

The UN points out that entrants should find plenty of subject matter.

?Potato is the number four food crop after rice, wheat and maize with annual production of more than 300 million tonnes,? explained International Year of the Potato co-ordinator NeBambi Lutaladio.

?It is grown in more than 100 countries, from the Andes and China?s Yunnan plateau to the subtropical lowlands of India, on the plains of northern Europe and the steppes of the Ukraine,? he added.

Entrants can submit single digital images, or ?photo stories? consisting of four to eight related images. Images can be entered online or posted to organisers on CD.

The rules state that the image should depict one or more of the following categories: Biodiversity; Cultivation; Post-harvest and processing; Trade; Marketing; and Consumption and utilization.

The closing date is 1 September 2008.

Click here for details of the International Year of the Potato photo contest