The new generation of potato varieties is performing better and better under extreme climate conditions such as drought, according to the recent sustainability report of potato breeder HZPC, which was published on Earth Day (April 22).
The company says in a news release that the first trials of hybrid varieties from seed, which have been tested in the Sub-Sahara region, are also showing good performance. If the development continues, HZPC believes these innovations will contribute significantly to more food security worldwide, especially in regions where hunger is a real threat.
More output with less input thanks to good genetics
HZPC is fully committed to developing robust, durable varieties. Varieties that perform optimally in more extreme conditions (such as heat, drought and salinization) and that will be able to overcome diseases. The optimal genetic variety traits are developed in a high-tech research environment in Friesland (The Netherlands).
Good genetics also help minimize the ecological footprint of the potato cultivation. Future HZPC varieties will require less and less water, environmentally damaging crop protection and fertilizers.
First successful trials with test hybrids
To ensure yields, HZPC uses new breeding techniques such as marker technology and hybridization. If current developments continue, seed of hybrid varieties can mean a lot for potato distribution and cultivation where food security is under pressure. Locations that are difficult to reach such as the Sub-Saharan region and Central Asia, due to limited infrastructure or for phytosanitary reasons, will have access to high-quality starting material through the supply of hybrid potato seed. The first tests of hybrid varieties on a trial field in Kenya last year were promising.
“The current climate developments have a negative effect on the availability of healthy and affordable food, especially in poorer countries,” explains Gerard Backx, CEO of HZPC Holding.
“We therefore remain fully committed to developing varieties and producing seed potatoes with a minimal ecological footprint, but with maximum performance. Also in countries where good results have to be achieved under challenging climatic conditions. We expect a lot from our latest innovations so that we can further make our chain future-proof.”