The potato sector has the ability to significantly contribute to a sustainable food supply worldwide. HZPC will therefore broadcast an inspiring programme on 3 November during Potato Days 2021 Live, with themes like hybrid breeding, the transformation of food systems and the Netherlands as breeding ground for seed potatoes.
Climate change is making it harder for farmers to grow enough food to feed their families. A new potato variety called CIP-Matilde, developed by the International Potato Center (CIP) with support from the Crop Trust, is the latest example of using the wild relatives of crops to adapt our agriculture to new threats. CIP is preparing to release CIP-Matilde in Peru.
Several key UK retailers have pledged to sell disease resistant organic potatoes, boosting sustainability and farm resilience for producers. Organic certification body the Soil Association developed its ‘UK Robust Potato Pledge 2021’ in a bid to help growers move away from potatoes that are susceptible to blight. Signees to the pledge have agreed to favour organic spuds that have been bred to be blight resistant.
HZPC realised that the financial year 2020/2021 would be difficult. Last year, the potato distributor was operating in a global economic recession. With enormous consequences for both multiple corporate sectors and for HZPC. However, there are always positives. Even now. “We have seen a rise in volume sales, we are proud to have started the Connective Growers programme and we are delighted with the efforts made to realise a competitive price for our growers,” says HZPC CEO, Gerard Backx.
Last Thursday, Jeffrey Endelman stood in a windy field east of Rhinelander and fished a diagram out of his fanny pack. “I’m continuing my selections in family number 91, at the moment, as I round the corner,” he explained to Ben Meyer of WXPR. Endelman was inspecting some of the 170 tillable acres at UW-Madison’s Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station. Over the decades, UW-Madison’s program has become one of the premier potato breeding programs in the country.
Spuds are survivors. Tubers have battled various scourges for about 10,000 years, as well as an unpredictable climate that can cause unseasonable frost damage to crops every year. But now, an international team of scientists have created a new potato variety that resists frost, making the crop even more resilient.
Potato farmers face many challenges. One tiny, yet devastating, pest is the Colorado potato beetle. It can cause immense damage to potato crops. It’s also notorious for becoming resistant to chemical insecticides. In a new study, published in Crop Science, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) describe genetic tools to develop potato varieties with improved natural resistance to the potato bug.
With drought a persistent problem in the Southwest, Hopi/Tewa seed keeper Valerie Nuvayestewa has eagerly joined the effort to bring back an Indigenous superfood that her ancestors cultivated for 11,000 years. The ‘Four Corners Potato’ can grow under dry conditions and provides triple the protein and twice the calcium of red organic potatoes. It is known scientifically as the Solanum jamesii.
A priceless living library of rare potato species is being trawled for traits which could offer resistance to pests, diseases, viruses and the looming issue of climate change. The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the only potato gene bank in the UK and only one of a handful in Europe, is located at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) campus at Invergowrie, and is regarded by geneticists as a vital resource for potato breeders.
In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.
In response to the challenges of climate change, growing demands for food, and persistent malnutrition, crop breeders across the Global South are developing more resilient, productive and nutritious potato varieties. The G+ Tools – a new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding developed by the International Potato Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas – promises to address this barrier by advancing a holistic framework to evaluate what traits men and women, farmers and consumers want in their potato, sweetpotato, cassava, and other crop varieties.
A team of researchers at Montana State University and North Dakota State University recently reported on results of a study into potato varieties thought to have a low glycemic index (GI). The research team evaluated 60 potato cultivars to identify cultivars with low amylopectin – that are thought to have low GI potential. The researchers identified five most promising cultivars.
The International Potato Center (CIP) has substantially contributed to the development and release of improved potato varieties that are grown by millions of farmers in Asia’s top potato producing countries. Across Asia, 170 potato varieties have been released through CIP’s breeding program or by using germplasm held in its collections.
The Elora Research Station in Ontario will host its annual open house event next Wednesday, August 11. Everyone who is interested in potato research is invited to come see the new variety demonstration plots in the field. Chipping, fresh market and french fry lines will be on display. This includes elite selections from the National Potato Breeding Program-AAFC, promising lines from Michigan State, Wisconsin and more.
A blight-resistant gmo potato variety help farmers in Uganda to defeat late blight and change their fortunes
Successful innovation for agriculture will depend on thorough and careful understanding of the aspirations of beneficiaries and the challenges farmers face. It entails putting them at the center of these innovations, according to this blog post by the International Potato Center (CIP). As part of its work to research solutions addressing hunger and poverty, CIP and partners worked in Uganda to develop and test a new type of blight-resistant potato, which may not need any fungicides.
The ‘tricot’ approach: How African farmers participate in potato variety selection and dissemination
The “triadic comparisons of technologies” – or tricot – approach is being used in a citizen-science project funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) to identify and scale up best potato and cassava varieties in Rwanda. Farmers are trained to conduct a trial with potato seed and then, at the end of the season, they are asked which variety they consider ‘best’ or ‘worst’ on several characteristics including yield, marketability, plant vigor and more.
The annual Texas A&M Potato Breeding and Variety Development Program Field Day, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Barrett Potato Farms, will be July 28. Isabel Vales, Ph.D., AgriLife Research potato breeder Vales said it has been a challenging year to grow potatoes in Springlake. Potatoes emerged late and had to endure inclement weather. “It is a miracle to see tubers underground,” she said.
‘In time of test, family is best’: How food system sustainability relies on the potato’s ‘wild relatives’
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, potato researchers and farmers have significant concerns about producing enough food under the stressors of climate change. However, a potential solution exists within the potato “family”, the International Potato Center (CIP), based in Lima, Peru says in a recent blog post. We republish the full post below.
The Technico Group of Companies announced today that it is in the process of upgrading and commercialising its award winning TECHNITUBER Seed Potato Technology for suitable application across various geographic regions in the world. According to CEO Dr. Soundar Soundararadjane, “The TECHNITUBER® seed size of approximately 13mm, weighing a mere 1.5 grams, is viable enough to be planted at only approximately 100 kg per hectare. TECHNITUBER seeds are delivered pre-sprouted in ‘field ready’ conditions and are easily transported.
They might look like small, purple potatoes, but “taewa” are so much more. Taewa come in every shape, and a multitude of colours. There are taewa with dark brown skins and purple inside; pale white inside, and golden yellow outside; maroon red skins, and orange inside. They’re similar, but also quite different, to what you’d find piled at most supermarkets in New Zealand.
Researchers at the hybrid potato breeding company Solynta and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have identified, cloned and characterized the gene for self-compatibility in potatoes called “Sli”. This discovery will have a profound impact on potato breeding. With Sli defined, breeders can implement hybrid breeding which will allow for faster and focused rather than opportunistic breeding. The technique could also help to quickly develop new potato varieties that are adapted to local conditions such as drought or flooding.
In a fresh produce career that has spanned nearly 50 years, Cary Hoffman still finds passion for the action of fresh produce and the challenge of growing consumer demand for potatoes, writes Tom Karst of The Packer in this first part of a two part story. For the past 25 years, that journey has included bringing niche potato varieties from Europe to the North American market.
Once neglected by urban consumers, Andean native potatoes are now essential ingredients for some of the most sophisticated gastronomy of the world, according to the authors of this article, published in Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues. André Devaux, Guy Hareau, Miguel Ordinola, Jorge Andrade-Piedra, and Graham Thiele write, “from colored chips to delicacy vegetables and even liquors, new products are making their way into high-income market niches.”
Dave Holm was destined to work with potatoes. He was raised on a potato farm in southeast Idaho, where his dad and grandfather instilled in him a love of one of the world’s most important crops. His interest extends to the complexities of the tubers, as well as their nutritional properties. This June, Holm will retire after 43 years of service to Colorado State University’s San Luis Valley Research Center and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
HZPC Americas announced earlier today that the company recently hired Jill Herold as a Key Account Manager. Jill brings over 18 years of experience in technical agronomy in potatoes, corn, soybean and other various crops, including several years focused on sustainability. “We’re thrilled to have Jill join our team.”, says Jeff Scramlin, President of HZPC Americas Corp. “Jill will be leading our commercial activities within the Processing Sector.
Sweden’s Starch Producers ready to put CRISPR to work in developing ‘new climate-smart potato varieties’
Sweden’s Starch Producers organization expressed a very positive view about this conclusion from the European Commission’s study into new genomic techniques, and of the fresh optimism that it will now potentially be possible to use the CRISPR technique. Sweden’s Starch Producers will now be able to commercialise the efforts it has made in this field within the EU. They began a drive to use the CRISPR technique to develop new, climate-smart varieties of seed potatoes in 2014. The new varieties are now being cultivated for the second year.