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CIP and HZPC collaborate to develop new potato varieties suitable for Southeast Asia

Research-poor farmers living in Southeast Asia are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Large areas of monocrops—including irrigated rice—are prone to floods and droughts, and poor farming practices and over-intensification have compromised the quality of arable land. Furthermore, rice, wheat and other grains have low nutritional value and are subject to market price fluctuations.

Potato is an appropriate alternative crop that could make a valuable contribution to more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems throughout the region. It is an ideal food security crop to grow under challenging conditions, since it is highly efficient in transforming water into
calories, has a short maturity period and can be harvested over a long period of time while the cereals are ripening.

This project builds on ongoing work by the International Potato Center (CIP) developing early-maturing potato varieties that are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases, thus suitable for growing in tropical climates.

The project aims to increase the potato productivity, the stability of
yields and incomes of resource-poor farmers in Southeast Asia.

In close collaboration with the Netherlands-based global potato seed company HZPC, this project is developing early-maturing varieties with
good characteristics for cooking and processing that would be suitable for the local environmental conditions. Five advanced clone candidate varieties will be cultivated and evaluated at high and low altitudes in Vietnam.

In addition to building the capacity of local institutions in Vietnam, the project demonstrates how successful collaboration with the private sector can advance the release of new varieties to farmers.

It is also laying the foundations for a buoyant future market — conferring sustainable incomes for farmers — by addressing the need for good processing characteristics early on in the selection process.

As bacterial wilt is a serious threat in the targeted region, the new population with increased diversity and variability will be developed in Peru by crossbreeding of genetic material possessed by CIP and HZPC. CIP has identified bacterial wilt resistant material which will be crossed with
the pollen sent by HZPC.

Source: CIP document

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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