Sustainable and future-proof potato cultivation visualised


10 September 2021
Sustainable and future-proof potato cultivation visualised

HOLLAND Innovative Potato has visualised the research towards a more sustainable and future-proof potato production in a series of knowledge clips. In the videos, researchers explain how increased yields can be increased using less fertiliser and fossil fuels, and how yield losses can be limited with less pesticides and stronger varieties. These approaches will allow greater circularity in the global food system. 
The availability of fertile land and sufficient fresh water will be the major challenges for global agriculture over the next few decades. Potato is a highly efficient crop in terms of water and land usage, with the potential to contribute to sustainable food production. Potatoes are also a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients, all of which contribute to a healthy diet. New breeding and processing techniques are now available to help the potato, as a an important global crop, to fulfil its potential.
Holland Innovative Potato 
The Netherlands is a global leader in potato breeding, production, processing and research. Holland Innovative Potato (HIP) was established in 2017 to explore and implement improved sustainability in the potato production chain. HIP members include companies and organisations involved in breeding, selling and processing potatoes. The research is funded by HIP members, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and the Dutch Research Council (NWO), and carried out by the University of Groningen, University of Amsterdam, and Wageningen University & Research.

Knowledge clips
A number of short videos are now available online in which the researchers summarise the innovations they are researching in potato cultivation and breeding.
Through these videos, HIP hopes to show what the researchers are doing, the approach they are taking, and why the research is being done. The following questions are addressed:

- How can potato growers make precise adjustments to potato crop development? A dashboard is being developed for the targeted application of fertiliser and water.

- How do the roots of potato plants grow into the soil to absorb nutrients and water? These insights can be applied to select new varieties that require less fertiliser and are more resilient to drought and salinization.

- How do potato plants allocate their nutrients to leaves or tubers? This knowledge allows to select new varieties that use fertilisers and water more efficiently, and that develop tubers with optimal composition at the right time.

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- How can we predict when potato tubers will germinate? This research will enable targeted distribution and planting of seed tubers, with optimal germination power.

- How do potato plants communicate with potato cyst nematodes? Understanding how the potato plant sends signals to these nematodes will guide efforts to prevent infestation.

- Are wild potato varieties resistant to pests and diseases that plant breeders currently don’t have solutions for? Wild relatives of the potato are being tested for resistance to fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes and insects. Resistant plants are used to breed potato varieties that don't require less pesticides, without production losses.