Robert Graveland, director R&D: 'For HZPC and the affiliated growers with which it collaborates, the improvement of potato varieties and expansion of the portfolio is of the utmost importance. Investments in Research & Development by our company are sustainable and ongoing.’
‘We are continuously working on applying our know-how in practice’
Robert Graveland, Director R&D
'At the same time, from our knowledge centre in Metslawier, we are constantly working on implementing our knowledge in practice once the experimental phase is complete.
An important development is the application of molecular markers, which enable us to select varietal features and resistance factors earlier in the development process.
HZPC uses sustainable and innovative breeding/development techniques. We are always keen to apply modern developments that may accelerate or enable better controls of varietal development. We see the opportunities in this context increase once new techniques can be used to modify an existing variety that can then be introduced to the market without GMO status. This will be the quickest way to realise social gains because the use of crop protection agents, for example, will be reduced.
In the long term, a combination of classic cross-breeding and selection, with focused technical application of characteristics, will be the best approach. HZPC opts for the most effective methods, whereby varieties can be brought to market across the globe with the same statuses.
In 2017/2018, the HZPC varieties Farida, Heraclea and Noblesse pushed through the limit of 100 hectares of seed potatoes.
Farida, Heraclea en Noblesse
R&D has several promising programmes in Central Africa. These are
- First subtropical clones developed
- Three varieties registered
- These varieties are suitable for the tropics
- The varieties are robust in cultivation and versatile in terms of usage
SATELLITE IN WAGENINGEN
The HZPC expertise centre is obtaining a satellite base on the campus of Wageningen University & Research. This research hub will offer us improved:
- International accessibility
- Access to research programmes
- Access to projects
- Access to talent
- New networks
Over the past year, a building plan has been developed for our centre of expertise in Metslawier. HZPC will begin work on construction in spring 2019.
Hybrid potato varieties and the cultivation of ware potatoes directly from seed are yet to be proven, but they are very promising techniques with huge potential. The short cycle is most suitable for the tropics where the current seed systems struggle. R&D is trialling test hybrids in Central Africa.