Potato Competitiveness and Food Safety
Potato cultivation in Central America and the Caribbean represents an important food and income source for family and business agriculture. In this framework, the project proposed to improve the levels of competitiveness and sustainability of the crop and contribute to food security by means of three specific objectives:
1. Increase the availability of varieties, clones and progenies of potato. More than 200 advanced clones were introduced from CIP, 11 varieties and clones from INIA in Chile, 8 varieties and 20 segregating populations (botanical seed) from INTA Argentina. Through field evaluations, three new varieties were released in Panama, three in Costa Rica and in the coming years, additional promising cultivars will likely be released.
2. Strengthen the national seed production system with appropriate phytosanitary levels, to improve productivity and quality. A diagnosis of the seed production systems revealed weaknesses and motivated the training of 14 technicians in production of rustic seedlings and 16 technicians and producers in potato seed production in the field and using aeroponic methods.
3. Evaluation of environmentally friendly alternatives for the management of fungi, insects, bacteria, nematodes and viruses. Nine technicians were trained in the production and utilization of biological products for pest control and crop fertilization.
The technological solution
The technological solution to respond to the stated objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and food security was based on the introduction, diversification and use of superior genetic resources provided by highly capable and experienced agencies located in the region. They had to meet criteria such as yield potential, adaptability to local agro-ecological conditions, acceptability by producers and consumers, and tolerance to pests and diseases. As an indispensable complement, emphasis was placed on the production of quality seed in its different formats (clones, sexual seed), both in the field and under aeroponic conditions. Finally, and considering the vulnerability of potato cultivation to diseases and pests, the project promoted the development and use of biocontrollers, including training actions on this topic.
The results can be summarized as the strengthening of potato germplasm available to Central American countries by means of highly capable organizations like the International Potato Center, the National Institute of Technology of Argentina and the Institute of Agricultural Research in Chile. In essence a South-South transfer of technologies and superior genetic material.
A total of 200 advanced clones were introduced from CIP, 11 varieties and advanced clones from INIA in Chile, 8 varieties and 20 segregating populations (botanical seed) INTA from Argentina. Through field evaluations, 3 new varieties were released in Panama, 3 in Costa Rica and in the coming years, additional promising cultivars may be released. Most of the activities were carried out with direct participation of potato producers, who actively participated in the selection of the materials, contributing their plots for evaluations and validation and have been the direct recipients of the recommended varieties.
Training included 39 technicians and specialists in seedling and seed production in the field and by means of aeroponics and the development and use of biocontrollers.
The number of direct beneficiaries (producers) was not recorded, however, it was significant considering the large number of research and validation plots planted in the six Central American countries. Capacity building resulted in a direct benefit for 39 technicians and specialists.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Instituto de Innovación Agropecuaria de Panamá (IDIAP) - Panamá
- Centro Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria y Forestal (CENTA) - El Salvador
- Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP) - Perú
- Dirección de Ciencia y Tecnología Agropecuaria (DICTA) - Honduras
- Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícolas (ICTA) - Guatemala
- Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
- Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Costa Rica
- Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Nicaragua