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EU Potato project

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EU project RESGEN - CT95 - 34/45

Genetic Resources of Potato including conservation, characterization and utilization of secondary potato varieties for ecological production systems in Europe

The European Commission has funded a 4 years project (started 1 March 1996) on the genetic resources of potato in the framework of the European Community Programme on the Conservation, Characterization, Collection and Utilization of Genetic Resources in Agriculture (EC No. 1467/94).

Beside the 12 participants, some institutions were involved as observers. Furtheron ECPGR supported 5 East European institutes to be partners of the project.

General background

The potato is the second most important crop in Europe after wheat. Potato still is susceptible to a large number of diseases and pests, making it one of the most heavy users of chemical inputs of any crop (van Loon et al., 1993). Breeding companies in the EU are worldwide active. There is a continuous need for new properties to improve the varieties. It is the only important crop in Europe that is vegetatively propagated, which raises particular problems in the genetic resources activities.


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Expected Results

The results will be :

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Expected Benefits

The coordination of potato genetic resources within the EU will minimize duplication of inputs and maximize the availability of germplasm and its information within the European Community.
Formerly neglected potato varieties will be characterized and information on potentially useful varieties diffused to users.
European potato breeding companies utilizing the results of this project can produce superior varieties and strengthen their position on the world market.
A consequential reduction in the input of pesticides and fertilizers will reduce the variable costs for farmers, which benefits the consumers and strengthens the competitive position of the European producers and agro-industry on the world market.
When potato breeders and scientists will use the results of the project in their breeding programmes, new potato varieties can be released with improved resistance against pests and diseases and/or improved nitrogen uptake efficiency, resulting in an extensification of the use of pesticides and/or reduced nitrogen dressing.
(Neglected) varieties of interest for ecological production systems will be identified.

Diffusion of results

The network developed two databases, one for potato cultivars (Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum), and one for related Solanum species (wild and primitive species). The results of the project will be offered for publication in professional literature. At all appropriate opportunities the participants present the results of the project at national and international meetings of farmers and others.

The general goals of the EU-project are being continued by the ECPGR Potato Working Group (Hoekstra et al., 2001). Its members are listed at the ECPGR web site.

Acknowledgement / Disclaimer

This project has been carried out with financial support from the Commission of the European Communities, Agriculture and Fisheries. It does not necessarily reflect its view and in no way anticipates the Commission's future policy in this area.

The publishers of this site cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, or for any damage or loss sustained as a result of use of information from this site.

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Last updated 27/12/2016 by Roel Hoekstra. Comments and questions to: R. (Roel) Hoekstra.