Bio Impuls: Organic Potato Breeding
Innovations in potato breeding
The umbrella programme Bio-Impuls
is aimed at improving organic potato varieties. It covers breeding as well as crop protection, harvesting, storage, market introduction and knowledge exchange. The Louis Bolk Institute coordinates the Bio-Impuls Breeding Project (2009-2013). The objective of this particular project is to develop new, disease resistant potato varieties through innovative breeding methods. Within this project we work closely together with Wageningen University and Research Centre, commercial breeders and farmer-breeders. The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ), as part of their "Green Breeding" programme.
The objective: organic varieties
Disease resistant varieties are crucial for the organic sector, but they are not sufficiently available. Organic growers are not allowed to use chemical pesticides to control the common potato disease Phytophthora infestans (potato blight). The present method, burning off the foliage, reduces both the yield and the quality of the tubers. Within the Bio-Impuls potato breeding programme, researchers, growers and commercial breeders work closely together to develop new varieties for the organic market. These varieties should be disease resistant, be suitable for low-input production, and produce good quality potatoes.
New knowledge immediately applicable
Part of the project is to collect and disseminate knowledge and experience of farmer-breeders involved in organic potato breeding. This has already resulted in three Potato Breeding Courses organised by the Louis Bolk Institute. Furthermore, the Louis Bolk Institute has published the Handbook for Farmer-breeders
. More information on this project can be found in the most recent Bio-Impuls movie