Invest in basic research to prepare potato industry for the future

By Team PotatoWorld, Dec 10, 2020 11:45:00 AM

Foreword PW2020-04

The content of this blog is the foreword from the Editorial Director published in PotatoWorld magazine 2020/04.

Holland Innovative Potato (HIP) was founded at the end of 2017. The objective of this association of eleven companies from the potato chain and the NAO and VAVI organisations is to jointly carry out pre-competitive potato research operations. Now, three years later, Wageningen University (WUR) researchers are presenting the results of research into resistances in wild potato varieties. Although the wide range of resistance genes discovered is not yet ready for use in practice, it is encouraging that a focus on basic research is yielding results. A public-private partnership appears to be a strong combination that ensures that there is sufficient budget available to actually take steps forward. In view of these results and the challenges the potato sector will have to face in the coming years, I believe that the government should invest more now in order to further stimulate basic research. It cannot be that the agricultural sector has to unilaterally meet the requirements of new legislation and regulations, such as the Green Deal. Investing in pre-competitive research now will result in innovations that will enable the sector to be well prepared in the future.

This need to innovate is intensified by the current corona pandemic. This summer, trade shows and field days could only take place online or in small groups, sometimes with facemasks. What will be the effect of the current corona pandemic on the sales of seed and ware potatoes and of the processed product in the new year? Will the trade flows change, will the risks in the chain be shifted, will the acreage come under pressure, will organic cultivation become more popular, and will this create opportunities for new varieties? These are just a few questions that can have a huge impact on the resilience of the sector. In addition, issues such as climate change, circular agriculture and the proposed Green Deal from Europe will play a significant role. These topics will have a significant impact on the potato sector in the coming years.

Jaap Delleman (Editorial Director of PotatoWorld magazine)


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