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2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog (published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs) on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

“The International Potato Center (CIP) has developed, in partnership with USAID, a cisgenic modification of local African potato varieties to add three genes from wild potato relatives which are resistant to late blight, and are passed on to subsequent growing seasons of potatoes (through their tubers which serve as “seeds” for the next planting season),” Kennedy and Easter write in a Guest Commentary on the Chicago Council’s website.

“With additional support from 2Blades Foundation, this new disease-resistant potato has been tested in Ugandan fields for the past five years and ‘consistently displayed complete resistance, not needing a single drop of chemical fungicide.’ The new variety tripled yields, potentially increasing farmers’ incomes by up to 40 percent.”

Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, is also the co-founder and chairman emeritus of the community non-profit and hunger-relief social business Top Box Foods. Prior to his terms as U of I President, Bob Easter was the dean of the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and serves on 2Blades’ Sustainability Council.

Source: 2Blades Foundation.
Click here to learn about 2Blades support for CIP’s work in Africa, chaired by Chris Kennedy. 2Blades is halfway to reaching its goal to raise $250,000 for CIP’s African potato initiative, and invites interested parties to visit EndTheBlight to contribute to the Foundation’s joint efforts.

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