The humble potato has fed us for centuries. Whether mashed, baked, boiled, or at the centre of a fish and chip supper, it’s at the core of the Scottish diet. But threats to the tattie, from climate change, disease and pests, have led to the creation of a new research centre to safeguard it for the future, as Vicky Allan reports for The Herald.
The National Centre for Potato Innovation, an initiative of the James Hutton Institute launched at the Royal Highland Show this week, is on a mission to develop new varieties of potato that have enhanced heat or drought tolerance or resistance to disease – but also crisp up nicely when they’re thrown in the chippie fryer, or mash like a dream.
In recent times, the UK has been fairly self-sufficient in terms of potatoes, 70% self-sufficient compared with 50% for overall food security.
“That’s significant,” said Professor Ian Toth, director of the new centre. “It also needs to stay that way, or even increase. We’ve seen the issues we’ve had with fresh veg coming into the UK recently. A lot of supermarket shelves have been empty but at least with potato we have some security that won’t happen and we need to make sure we retain that.”
Source: The Herald. Read the full story here
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