Potato R&D Updates
Hybrid potato breeding for improved varieties
The cultivated potato, Solanum tuberosum, can be reproduced generatively through seeds and vegetatively through tubers. This may have evolutionary advantages: seeds may provide better survival under extreme conditions, such as frost or drought, and can remain viable in the soil for years. When conditions are mild, tubers survive in a dormant state for a couple of months. When conditions become favourable again, their fast and strong sprouting provides a clear competitive advantage over other plants in the same ecological niche.
The potential of hybrid potato for East-Africa
Potato is an important staple crop in East Africa. Recently, true potato hybrid breeding technology has been developed, whereby diploid hybrids are generated by crossing between homozygous inbred parent lines. The first series of experimental hybrids were pre-screened in The Netherlands and ten representative hybrids were tested in East Africa, whereby the yield of the best hybrid was 29 ton/ha. These results show the great potential of hybrid potato for East Africa.
The Major Players in the Potato Industry in China
China has become the largest potato producer in the world. It has a robust potato industry that is expected to grow due to China’s economic development, increasing demand for diverse and quality food, and important government support. However, not much research exists about this industry, when compared with other crops such as rice, wheat, and maize.
The objective of this report is to identify possible opportunities for global potato industry stakeholders interested in finding potential links and collaborations in the Chinese potato industry. The idea of generating this report began at the very successful 9th World Potato Congress, held in Beijing (Yanqing), PR China, in 2015. Realizing the predominant global impact of the Chinese potato industry, the World Potato Congress, Inc. (WPC Inc.) and the International Potato Center (CIP) signed a memorandum of understanding, laying the initial steps of what later became this report.