Tuesday 10 December 2019

Dutch company develops new blight-resistant potato

Picture: United States Department of Agriculture

A Dutch company has developed a breed of potato that is resistant to late blight and could greatly reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.

Small Dutch company Solyunta, originally set up to work on tomato varieties, will unveil its new potato later this week, the Financieele Dagblad said.

Phytophthora infestans is a type of fungus that causes around €10bn in damage to potato stocks worldwide every year, despite the intensive use of pesticides.

The cost to the almost 9,000 potato growers in the Netherlands are estimated at €150m in relation to a total turnover of €750m, the FD said, quoting figures from Wageningen University.

Wageningen professor Richard Visser told the FD he expects Solynta will need a further four or five years before farmers will be able to grow the new potatoes.

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