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Survey: European farmers view climate change as main challenge for future potato production

Europatat is part of an international consortium involved in the research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”), which aims to develop new strategies for making potatoes fit for the challenging production conditions of the future.

The project was started in July 2020 and will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million Euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA 2020 862-858.

The needs of potato growers are of fundamental interest for all the researchers, industrial partners and breeders involved in the project. In an online survey, ADAPT asked farmers about their perception of climate change, their experiences concerning its impact on potato production, and their need for adapted potato varieties.

The survey was available in ten languages (English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Spanish, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian and Greek) and accessible from December 2020 to April 2021. In total, the survey’s responsible ADAPT partner, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), received 553 replies, of which most were from farmers with potato production locations in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. ADAPT would like to thank all farmers for participating and all Europatat members for distributing the survey.

The impact of climatic changes

Remarkably, almost 90% of the survey respondents indicated that climate change had affected their potato production in the last 10 years. Moreover, almost 50% defined climatic change as the main threat to maintain sustainable potato production.

Figure 1: Do you believe that in the last 10 years changes in climatic conditions have affected your potato production?

More than 80% of the potato growers indicated that drought and heat have increasingly affected their potato production in the last 10 years. In the opinion of more than 50% of the farmers, pests and pathogens induced by climatic conditions have had negative effects. More than 40% noted the impact of heavy precipitation. Similar replies were obtained when asking for potential future impairment of potato production.

Which effect(s) related to climatic changes do you feel has (have) increasingly impacted your potato production in the last 10 years? (green)
In your opinion, which effect(s) related to climatic changes will negatively affect your future crop production the most? (blue)

In conclusion, the survey shows that the focus and the expected outcome of the ADAPT project perfectly meet the needs of potato growers!

Please, visit the official project’s website (adapt.univie.ac.at) and Twitter account (@eu_Adapt) for more information and updates.

Source: Europatat

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