Early warning for the management of potato late blight
Potato is a major crop in Latin America and is the main food in small farming, it is native to America as well as the causal agent of Late Blight (LB), P. infestans. Today, LB is considered a re-emerging disease in this crop, due to pathogen variability and climate instability that favors its presence and dispersion, with a high incidence and severity. Farmers, therefore, use pesticides excessively and inappropriately, increasing the environmental impact and risk to the health of users.
This proposal proposes the formation of a platform of specialists in potato LB, with the aim of developing and implementing an early warning system as tools to support decision-making in small farming production systems, according to available technology in each country, and able to reduce the losses caused by this disease. Using early warning-based information will help farmers perform chemical control in a timely and efficient manner and only when needed.
This information, together with integrated management training and good agricultural practices, will encourage adaptation and mitigation to climate change for the sustainable intensification of potato production.
This proposes the 50% reduction of the use of pesticides necessary for the control of LB, in a safe and efficient way, and the implementation of an IPM strategy, according to the environmental condition and production system, thus reducing costs by at least 20%. Applied research capacities will be strengthened to incorporate them into member countries' production systems.
The technological solution
This project will implement an early warning system as tools to support decision-making in small farming production systems for integrated management of potato late blight in the participating countries. The system uses weather data alongside epidemiological information of the disease to estimate optimal moments of control.
Two systems will be implemented, one based on real-time connected weather station network information (tizon.inia.cl, Phytoalert) and a manual system that uses local environmental condition observation (DSS-HH). Both systems enable farmers to make integrated disease management decisions based on the information provided by the alert system, improving the efficiency of agrochemical use, increasing crop productivity and profitability.
The project involves working in Ecuador (Province of Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Chimborazo), Panama (Cerro Punta, Chiriqui), Chile (Chiloé Island) and Argentina: (Belgrano, Northern Argentina).
Regional platform of specialists: Technical capacity building will be a major step forward in solving the problem and implementing management measures with a sustainable approach in the 4 participating countries.
Early warning system: This decision support tool will give the possibility to reach new users with information for efficient and sustainable disease management, under new cropping conditions, reducing losses and improving farmer socioeconomic condition.
Seasonal warning: This innovation will enable the chain of actors and decision makers to support prevention against high LB risk, to provide support and resources in advance to prevent the problem and potential losses.
Map of P. infestans population: This pathogen, at global level, present a high genetic variable populations, so by determining its predominant characteristics in LAC, you can estimate the potential gene flow of this population to other territories and prevent epiphytics.
Members of the productive chain trained in IPM, BPA and early warning: This will decrease LB losses, reducing the risk of farmers and the environment because of the use of pesticides, encouraging sustainable intensive production of the potato crop.
The beneficiaries will be small farmers in the platform member countries.
- In Chile, we will work with 35 farmers producing potatoes landraces in Chiloe Island, who are Industry and supermarket suppliers, and indirectly with producers throughout the Archipelago.
- In Argentina, 6 families of farmers will work in the Province of Buenos Aires, also in the north of Argentina we will work with another small farming group, to analyze the two production realities.
- In Ecuador the direct beneficiaries will be 120 farmers from the provinces of Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Chimborazo and the indirect beneficiaries would be the members of the productive chain.
- In Panama, we will work with 300 potato producers in the Cerro Punta sector.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
- Instituto de Innovación Agropecuaria de Panamá (IDIAP) - Panamá
- Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP) - Ecuador
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
- Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) - Ecuador
- Consorcio Papa - Chile
- DMC - Chile
- Productores y Comercializadores de Hortalizas Caballero S.A. (Productores y Comercializadores de Hortalizas Caballero S.A.) - Panamá
- ZeFarms SpA - Chile