27 April 2022
New generation of potato varieties promising for more food security
THE new generation of potato varieties from potato breeder HZPC is performing better and better under extreme climate conditions such as drought, according to the breeder's recently-published sustainability report .
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, these innovations will contribute significantly to more food security worldwide, especially in regions where hunger is a real threat, the company states.
More output with less input can be brought about through good genetics, according to HZPC which has made it its mission to develop robust and durable varieties. This includes 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 minimise the ecological footprint of the potato cultivation so future HZPC varieties will require less and less water, environmentally damaging crop protection and fertilisers, its staff claim.
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.
CEO of HZPC Holding Gerard Backx said: "The current climate developments have a negative effect on the availability of healthy and affordable food, especially in poorer countries. 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."
Founded in 1898, and rooted in Dutch soil, HZPC has expanded to become an international market leader in potato breeding, seed potato trading and product concept development.