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James Hutton Institute spearheads global food security with new National Potato Innovation Centre

In response to the pressing global issue of food security, The James Hutton Institute has unveiled plans to establish the National Potato Innovation Centre (NPIC) at its campus in Invergowrie. This initiative aims to leverage scientific advancements to ensure a reliable and sustainable supply of healthy food, particularly focusing on the crucial role of potatoes in government strategies for food security in countries like China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The climate and biodiversity crises have underscored the urgent need for developing crop cultivars that can thrive in warmer environments while being cultivated in low-input sustainable systems. The NPIC will play a pivotal role in this endeavor by utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as a new glasshouse complex with controlled environment facilities.

These facilities will enable the growth of accessions from the Commonwealth Potato Collection, facilitate crossbreeding and ‘speed breeding,’ identify key traits like drought tolerance and disease resistance, and explore new genes and compounds.

Key Points Highlighted by The Hutton Institute:

  • Internationally renowned for potato science and the UK’s largest R&D center for potatoes.
  • Custodians of the Commonwealth Potato Collection, a valuable source of potato germplasm.
  • Extensive expertise in developing commercially successful potato varieties.
  • Proven track record in delivering applied science for the agricultural industry.
  • Strong network of international and national partnerships.

The establishment of the NPIC signifies a significant step towards future-proofing the UK potato industry by ensuring its adaptability to changing climatic conditions. By combining expertise in potato breeding with state-of-the-art facilities, The Hutton Institute aims to drive innovation in potato cultivation, contributing to enhanced food security on a global scale.

As stakeholders from various sectors rally behind this initiative, symbolized by the growing “pledge tree” adorned with signatures of support, the NPIC emerges as a beacon of hope in addressing food security challenges through science-driven solutions.

Source: The Hutton Institute. Read the original press release here
Photo: Credit Wolfgang Ehrecke from Pixabay

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