Benefits

Every day, millions of people around the world go hungry. Around 30,000 die of malnutrition daily; equivalent to half a big soccer stadium each day.

World population is increasing, and climate change means it’s harder than ever for farmers in some places to grow a good crop.

Potatoes have the potential to help solve these problems – they are more nutritious, cheaper, healthier, and need less water to grow than any other staple crop. They are also widely accepted and enjoyed; are grown and eaten almost everywhere.

However, potatoes have long been held back. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. potatoes can still only be grown using bulky, perishable, contaminated, and degenerated seed-tubers rather than from true seeds like most other crops.
  2. due to potatoes’ complex genetic structure, breeding new varieties is next to impossible. While the yields for a lot of other crops like tomato, cucumber peppers, corn, and sugarbeet have increased, the difficulty of breeding potatoes means that potato yields have barely increased. Potatoes’ high  susceptibility and vulnerability to diseases also means they require heavy pesticide use, or risk ruining crops.

Solynta’s new breeding technology will help solving these problems.

Solynta True-Seeds instead of seed tubers

Traditionally, farmers have grown potatoes using seed tubers rather than true seeds, but these tubers are heavy, degenerated, contaminated with diseases and perishable, as well as being a logistical nightmare.

In contrast, a single water bottle of Solynta’s disease-free true seeds can produce as many potatoes as a truck full of tubers. True seeds are easier to ship, easier to store, pristine and non-perishable.


Goal directed breeding is finally possible in potatoes


We can increase yields by exploiting what is known as ‘hybrid vigour’ – put simply, if we breed potatoes carefully, the kids are better than the parents. Research shows that we can increase yields by more than 30% in the developed world and we can more than double the yields in the developing world.

By combining existing varieties of potato, we can quickly use beneficial potato traits from one variety and put them to use in another variety, and so bred varieties which have better taste, or higher nutritional value.

We can also breed new varieties which maximise naturally-existing resistances against pests and diseases. This will reduce pesticides use by more than 60%, saving the farmer time and money, as well as being a blessing for our planet.

In short, increased disease pressure and climate change can now be tackled using Solynta’s fast and efficient breeding technology. Yields can increase and fewer people can go hungry. Together we are convinced that these benefits have the potential to transform the way potatoes are grown, helping feeding the world.