International Conference “Potato futures: impact of hybrid varieties”

On November 30, 2020 the University of Groningen (RUG), the Rathenau Instituut, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the hybrid potato breeding firm Solynta and Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) are organizing the international conference “Potato futures: impact of hybrid varieties”.

Event details

30 Nov 2020
RUG, WUR, The Rathenau Instituut, Solynta and NFP
More information

Online registration form


Credits: Unsplash / Jan Antonin Kolar

The international conference “Potato futures: impact of hybrid varieties” will be facilitated by day moderator Adrie Papma and will be broadcasted live from 10:00 till 17:00. It starts with a plenary morning programme, followed by two parallel sessions in the afternoon and a plenary closure at 16:00.

Detailed information and registration

Please complete the online registration form if you want to attend the conference. Deadline for registration is Friday, November 27, 2020.

All registered participants will receive login information latest November 27, 2020.


The conference is built around the Potarei project, which was initiated by researchers from Wageningen University, the Rathenau Instituut and the University of Groningen, with active participation of the company Solynta. The project focused on conditions for a responsible development of hybrid potato that should benefit “the productivity, sustainability and diversity of the current potato production systems”.

The conference offers a programme in which the insights from the Potarei project are brought together, compared and contrasted with the views and experiences of breeders, stakeholders and policy makers in a national and international context.

Plenary morning programme

The morning programme will be opened by Jim Lorenzen of the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation. Furthermore, the hybrid potato breeding will be introduced and discussed as a radical system innovation. Different scenarios will be presented as possible futures for this innovation, shaped by diverging technological and societal system contexts. On this basis, two issues have been defined as main agenda for debate:

  • Hybrid breeding will be an important driver for rapid variety development, creating new added value, both commercially and from a societal point of view.
  • Hybrid varieties will become available as true potato seeds that can be propagated, stored and transported as a commercial (or public) source of clean and high-quality planting material.

Two parallel afternoon sessions

The two parallel afternoon programme tracks will elaborate the main agenda for debate in more specific and concrete ways:

  • The first track will focus on the Dutch/agro-industrial context. Intended participants are primarily stakeholders from the Dutch potato sector and other relevant parties – including breeders, farmers, trading houses, processors, and agencies involved in certification, regulation and policymaking.
  • The second track will focus on the developing/African context. Intended participants are parties from the Dutch and international potato sector, concerned with international agricultural development, global food security, sustainability and climate change – including CGIAR centres, the international seed and potato industry, knowledge institutions, governmental or private policy makers, funding agencies, and civil society organisations.

Plenary closure

The final panel discussion will be followed by conclusions from Louise O. Fresco, President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research. The international conference will be closed by Myrtille Danse, Executive Director Netherlands Food Partnership.