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Upcoming WPC webinar to focus on the importance of late blight resistant biotech potatoes in Africa

The World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to announce its March webinar with Dr. Marc Ghislain and Dr. Eric Magembe. The webinar is scheduled to be presented live on Tuesday March 21, 2023 at 10:00am EST (Canada/USA).

The webinar is titled “Deployment of late blight resistant biotech potatoes in Africa“. Registrations are now open and interested parties can register online here.

The role of biotech potatoes in Africa

According to the presenters, popular potato varieties in Africa have been bioengineered by inserting three late blight resistant genes from wild relatives of the potato. The biotech potatoes are completely resistant to this devastating disease in Africa. This has been indeed observed over twenty two experimental field trials during eight years in three African countries (Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya).

Characterization of the insertion genes in to the potato genome, the nutritional and anti-nutritional components, and the agronomic performance of the best transgenic events show promising lines which can be released to African farmers after approval by national competent authorities.

The presenters say this innovation is one of many needed to increase potato production in food-deficient countries, and reduce the amount of chemicals needed to grow potato anywhere in the world.

The presenters

Dr. Marc Ghislain has been the global leader for the Biotechnology research program at the International Potato Center (CIP) until November 2022. Currently, he is the deputy director of the Feed The Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership project.

His research interests cover genetic diversity of potato and sweetpotato germplasm, genetic mapping of traits of interest, marker-assisted selection, genomics-assisted breeding, and transgenesis. He is currently leading CIP efforts to release a transgenic potato completely resistant to late blight in sub-Saharan African countries.

Dr. Eric Magembe is the Global Molecular and Technical Research Lead with the USAID Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. He is based at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Nairobi Kenya for over nine years now.  He is using new breeding tools, mainly biotechnology, to develop potato varieties resistant or tolerant to diseases including late blight, bacterial wilt and PVY.

Dr. Magembe believes that biotechnology presents exciting opportunities to alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods for small-holder farmers. He has worked with NARS African partners in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Rwanda for the development of the biotech potato.


Register in advance for this webinar here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

WPC’s April Webinar will be presented by Blair Richardson, CEO, Potatoes USA and Kim Breshears, Chief Marketing Officer, Potatoes USA. It will be titled “Potatoes: Fueling the World”.

In case you missed any of WPC’s previous webinars, please visit where you may view past World Potato Congress webinars.

Source: World Potato Congress Inc
Cover image: Credit and courtesy International Potato Center: Feed the Future global biotech potato partnership in Kenya and Nigeria

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