Background
About the potato

Potato and
sustainability

HZPC's goals

  • ↑ Yield
  • ↑ Food quality
  • ↓ Water consumption
  • ↓ Fertilisation
  • ↑ Resistance to disease
  • ↓ The potato's CO2 footprint
  • ↑ Nutritional value per m2
  • Development of new varieties for extreme climates and saline soils

Facts

  • After corn, rice and wheat, the potato is the 4th most important food crop in the world
  • Potatoes consume significantly less water than corn, rice and wheat.
  • Potatoes require less water than corn, rice and wheat

Future

  • 2050, CO2 in the atmosphere ↑ to roughly 550 ppm (parts per million)
  • 2050, potato yield ↑ 28% due to increase in CO2
  • 2050, water consumption ↓ 11% due to increase in CO2
  • 2050, food needed for 9.8 billion people
  • In 2030, half of the world's population will live with a shortage of water
  • The potato, as a food source, will become increasingly important. China will double production and consumption over the next 10 years.

A responsible product

Our goal of improving the cultivation of potatoes around the world is also in line with working on sustainability. With the potato as a crop, growers around the world can produce good food in a short period of time, with relatively little water, which at the same time is rich in vitamins and carbohydrates.

There are still major differences in terms of yield in weight per hectare. An average of 47 tonnes is harvested per hectare in Western Europe, whereas the volume is scarcely 15 tonnes in Russia or China. This major difference is caused, for the most part, by the lack of high-quality seed potatoes and lack of product knowledge and proper mechanisation.

Often the production is still limited due to susceptibility to disease. We can increase the yield per hectare substantially by supplying high-quality seed potatoes of varieties with excellent properties, in combination with sharing product knowledge and knowledge about cultivation.

Our breeding programmes primarily focus on food quality, resistance to disease and yield. With the environment in mind, we look at efficient use of land, environmentally-friendly cultivation and reduced use of fresh water. We also want to increase the nutritional value per m2 cultivated and, in so doing, contribute to the improvement of the global food supply.

Read more about Research & Development

Download PDF Article: Eating is knowledge and conscience – interview with Louise Fresco

Breeding technology

HZPC uses the latest breeding technology. With more and more opportunities, we work on the development of new, sustainable and responsible potato varieties. HZPC's potato varieties are developed without the use of genetic modification (non-GMO). This policy continues to apply for the development of new varieties.

We are aware that lots of scientific research into biotechnology is being undertaken. We are also aware that this science has the potential to tackle many of the issues which challenge the world - production of affordable food for a growing world population. We monitor the possibilities that biotechnology offers from that perspective. Taking into account the wide-ranging political and social discussion, regulation and acceptance of such new technology by our stakeholders will always be decisive in how we work.

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