The Power of Hybrid Potato Seed on the African Continent
Potatoes are a staple food for millions of people across the African continent. However, potato farming in Africa is often faced with challenges such as disease, low yields, and limited access to quality seed. These challenges have negatively impacted potato farming in Africa, leading to decreased production and limited economic growth.
But now, a solution is on the horizon. Hybrid true potato seeds (HTPS) are a new type of potato seed created through DNA technology that allows for the growth of stable potatoes from seed instead of tubers. This revolutionary potato breeding technology is set to transform potato farming on the African continent.
Solynta, a Dutch hybrid potato breeding company, has patented the hybrid breeding process, which involves using both male and female parent plants to create HTPS. The resulting potatoes are more resilient, disease-resistant, and adaptable to the local environment. Additionally, HTPS are non-perishable, making them easy to transport and store, reducing storage and transportation costs.
The benefits of using HTPS for potato farming in Africa
- With their unique ability to build in disease resistance, Solynta’s hybrids can contribute to more efficient and sustainable potato production.
- They can also address food security goals in line with the South African government’s objectives.
- The use of HTPS can provide a predictable and rapid flow of improved products, ensuring that farmers have access to quality seed and can maximize their yields.
HTPS trial underway in Kenya
To test the viability of HTPS in Africa, a trial is currently underway in Kenya to assess the yield quality and quantity of late blight-resistant potatoes grown using HTPS. The early results are promising, with a favourable harvest reported. A more detailed report will be available once the trial has concluded. The use case in Kenya, which has similarities to the South African potato farming environment, is an indication of how the use of HTPS can benefit South African farmers.
Here at RegenZ, we have partnered with Solynta to bring HTPS to the South African agricultural community because we believe that the innovative hybrid potato technology can bring huge benefits to potato-producing farming communities in South Africa.
Justin Platt, Managing Director of RegenZ, says, “By delivering these genetics through true seeds, many other advantages will be achieved, such as the provision of disease-free seed and a reduction in storage and transport costs.”
The photo below was taken from the trial in Kenya: A comparison of the growth of blight-infected potatoes (left) vs new solynta blight-resistant potatoes (right).
When will HTPS be available in South Africa?
Pending import permits, HTPS are expected to become available in South Africa in late 2023. A late blight certification trial is planned at Ivanhoe Farm and Cedara Agricultural College in the KZN Midlands. Farmers who want to be the first to know about HTPS availability in South Africa can get in touch with the RegenZ team.
HTPS is a game-changer for potato farming in Africa
This new potato breeding technology has the potential to transform potato farming in South Africa, addressing the challenges of disease, low yields, and limited access to quality seed. By partnering with Solynta, RegenZ is bringing this innovative technology to South African farmers, providing them with access to robust, locally-adapted potato hybrids and plentiful potato yields.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or need further information.
About the Author: Alex Platt
Alex is Business Development Manager at RegenZ. He's inspired by the potential of regenerative farming and takes a special interest in the technology and products that are moving agriculture in a more sustainable direction.