The Revolutionary Role of Sustainable Hybrid True Potato Seed Farming
The Fifth Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium incorporated with The Southern African Adaptation Colloquium (Adaptation Network) was held on October 12 – October 14, 2022 at the Ukulinga Research Farm in Pietermaritzburg. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Small Scale Farmers and Climate Change Adaptation’, with the aim of bringing together stakeholders driving research and practice across Southern Africa, focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing smallholder farmers in a changing climate.
Along with keynote speakers Steve Camp, Acting Executive Director of (The Howard Davis Farm Trust), UKZN Foundation; Charissa da Costa, Adaptation Network Deputy Chairperson; and Professor Stanley Liphadzi, Water Research Commission; Zylem and RegenZ’s own Junior Technical Manager, Nosipho Mbele, gave a presentation on the introduction of Solynta Hybrid True Potato Seed (HTPS). Nosipho’s presentation focused on commercial HTPS cultivars grown under sustainable agriculture conditions using Moringa oleifera for disease management, and Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma fungi for plant development.
Why do we need HTPS?
The world is facing major challenges in agriculture. We need to reduce hunger, reduce pesticides, and mitigate and slow the impacts of climate change—all while producing more food with less land and resources. As the world’s third-largest food crop, potatoes have a big role to play in addressing these challenges.
“Potato produces more nutritious food on less land with less water in harsher climates than any other major food crop.” – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Hybrid true potato seed produces a faster and more predictable yield than traditional potato breeding:
|Traditional Seed Tubers
|Hybrid True Potato Seed
|Many years of selection and multiplication
|Fast and efficient, and new traits can be rapidly be introduced
|Low genetic gain
|Potato yield has not significantly improved over the past century
|Less crop protection chemicals due to disease resistance
|It takes years to build up sufficient quantities of seed tubers for commercial production
|Better quality for processors and consumers
|Safer than tissue culture
|Clean true seeds can easily be produced, transported, and stored
Why sustainable farming?
The intensive use of pesticides has resulted in many people, particularly in developing countries being victims of mycotoxins produced by heavy metals and chemicals. These chemicals (i.e. fungicides) can kill the fungi but also cause damage to the plant due to excess pesticide applied (often due to lack of knowledge by a small-scale farmer). This results in the death of soil-beneficial flora and fauna, leaching by rain, and contamination of water sources.
Sustainable agriculture combines many practices and aspects of farming, including soil use, livestock farming, nutrient flow, water use, energy & climate, biodiversity and plant protection, economic viability, etc.
Sustainable farming helps small-scale farmers save money by reducing input costs, creates job opportunities, and helps contribute to food security.
HTPS + sustainable farming = a winning combination
Sustainable agriculture has the power to increase yield and feed the world’s growing population without destroying the resources we need for the survival of the human race. Cultivating HTPS with a sustainable approach further enhances the benefits of choosing HTPS.
To test this theory, Nosipho’s research is measuring the disease rate on potato plants (leaves and tuber) treated with Moringa Leaf Powder (MLP), a naturally-occurring plant that has antimicrobial properties against plant pathogens causing soil-borne diseases. It also enhances plant tolerance to abiotic stress. She also evaluated plant growth and development of potatoes treated with fungi-containing products. The trial is still ongoing, and we look forward to updating this post with the results.
Hybrid true potato innovations have the potential to enhance the livelihoods of producers across the globe and drive sustainable improvements in world food security. We’re looking forward to bringing Solynta’s revolutionary HTPS to the South African market soon. These new hybrid true potato varieties offer a sustainable answer to the world’s nutrition security challenges. Breeding and growing these seeds using a sustainable approach results in potato seeds that are free from disease, need little pesticide and produce great yields. The benefits to both small-scale and commercial farmers are wide-reaching.
Send us an email to be the first to know when HTPS is launched in South Africa.
Justin is the Founder & CEO of Zylem and RegenZ. Justin has a BSc in Plant Pathology and Botany from UKZN. He has been involved in the agricultural services industry since graduating in 1979. Justin has a passion for regenerative agriculture.