Potato sector development

Dutch stakeholders have jointly developed a position paper on the sustainable transformation of the potato sector in developing countries and emerging economies. This paper is meant to serve as a guideline for the development of new programmes and investments and foster collaboration between the relevant parties.

In different geographies potatoes are being grown mostly by small-scale farmers in a low-input/low-output system. Production levels continue to be very low while the demand is growing steadily due to economic growth and urbanization. As a crop, the Potato has the potential to make a significant contribution to food and nutrition security in specific agro-ecosystems. It can have an immediate and long-term impact on poverty, employment and entrepreneurship, food insecurity, and climate change resilience, especially for vulnerable communities.

The role of the Dutch sector

The Dutch potato sector has a strong global reputation, also in Africa and Asia. However, stakeholders in the Dutch potato sector realise that a collective contribution to improving potato production systems and markets in those geographies demands a more integrated and targeted approach. It requires a joint ambition and partnerships between industry, government, regulatory bodies, knowledge and educational organizations, civil society and farmers’ organizations.

Position Paper

In this document, the Dutch potato sector shares its position on how to contribute to the transformation of the potato sector in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). How the sector as a Dutch Diamond can work closely with their international and local counterparts, contributing to sustainable development as well as achieving its aspirations in terms of a business interest. You can read the summary or download the full report.

Download the full report

Scoping Report on Forming an Impact Coalition on Hybrid True Potato Seed

The Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) has produced a report to present the findings of a scoping study on the feasibility of accelerating the implementation of Hybrid True Potato Seed (HTPS) in emerging economies. This scoping study does not focus on the promises and challenges of the hybrid breeding technology, but rather on the broader system context of African agriculture and potato cultivation that is needed to sustainably introduce and scale Hybrid True Potato Seed.

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NFP supporting a joint ambition

In 2019, the Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO) and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) initiated a study to learn about recent potato sector development programmes, define leverage points for strengthening and transformation of the potato sector in LMICs. The study was also a steppingstone to explore the need for a potato platform to enhance collaboration, set an agenda for sustainable potato sector development, promote new initiatives, and improve the effectiveness of Dutch funded programmes.

The next step was the formulation of this position paper prepared by the NAO together with all stakeholders and supported by the Netherlands Food Partnership. The paper provides insights into the major challenges and the strengths and opportunities for the Dutch potato sector for supporting the transformation of the potato sector in LMICs. Parallel, the establishment of a Potato Platform was explored to meet the ambitions of the ‘Dutch Potato Diamond’.

As the ambitions, challenges and anticipated activities within the potato sector largely overlapped with the agenda of SeedNL, it was decided to integrate the idea into this existing organisation. This was the stepping stone for NAO to join SeedNL in 2022 to strengthen collaboration on potato seed sector development in low and middle income countries to exchange knowledge and expertise and to stimulate new initiatives.

International Conference “Potato futures: impact of hybrid varieties”

In the last decade, hybrid potato breeding as a new paradigm has grown from a promising principle to a realistic approach. Breeders welcome the prospect of hybrid potato breeding as a game changing development that may help to adapt potatoes to various soils and climates and to make them resistant to pests, disease, heat and drought.

On November 30, 2020 the international conference “Potato futures: impact of hybrid varieties” took place. The programme included presentations and discussions on the current situation of hybrid potato breeding as an innovation, the social context and trends for future perspectives, the prospects and challenges from a Dutch and an international perspective. The conference was organized by Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the University of Groningen (RUG), The Rathenau Institute, the hybrid potato breeding firm Solynta and the Netherlands Food Partnership.

Key messages and full report

Header photo: Solynta / Serena Oliemeulen