Potato and Climate Change
The potato plays a key role in global nutrition, due to its high productivity and high nutritional value. One of the effects of climate change and variability is the increase in pests and diseases, which represents a great threat to the sustainability of agriculture and food security. The potato is very sensitive to abiotic stresses causing significant yield reductions and frost can destroy the crop. Late blight, the most devastating disease for potatoes is currently causing damage in regions that have never known this disease. In Latin America, this situation affects not only the food base of the communities, but also their economic and social sustainability, as farmers choose to migrate in search of other means of subsistence.
The project objective was the identification and development of potato varieties with better adaptation to adverse environmental conditions in producing areas. Specifically: 1. Carry out phenotypic evaluations of resistance / tolerances to different stresses, 2. Evaluate specific markers of candidate genes for biotic and abiotics stresses. and characterize the allelic composition of varieties and germplasm; 3. Carry out genetic improvement activities integrating the results of the previous components to combine favorable characteristics, and 4. Disseminate and transfer the results.
The technological solution
Climate change will affect potato growing areas, due to variations in humidity and temperature, which can affect the geographical distribution of pests and diseases. Most traditional potato varieties are not adapted to growing conditions caused by climate change, which can result in drastic declines in yields and even total loss of crops. Although there are agronomic techniques to alleviate the effects of stress, it is necessary to develop new varieties adapted to adverse conditions, taking advantage of the natural biodiversity existing in the species. The project evaluated a large number of commercial varieties in field and greenhouse trials, identifying the most adapted to adverse conditions in the seven countries. Also, useful progenies and parents were identified that can be the basis for genetic improvement programs for the development of new varieties with higher productivity and resistance and / or tolerance to factors such as droughts, frosts, high temperatures or the presence of diseases. 990 farmers were trained, and a considerable area was planted with the new varieties.
68 commercial varieties adapted to adverse climatic conditions were identified in various countries, especially with resistance / tolerance to drought, heat and cold, and resistant to late blight, through 72 field or greenhouse trials. The varieties are being used as a priority in the improvement programs of each partner.
280 useful parents and 350 promising progenies were identified for breeding programs as the basis for generating varieties with superior adaptive characteristics. Genotypes with combined tolerances / resistances have been identified that show superior agronomic behavior.
An improved methodology for the assessment of adaptation to abiotic stresses was developed that is superior to the one previously used.
59 candidate genes for different abiotic stresses and development of molecular markers were identified for 31 upper alleles of these genes that can be applied in the assisted selection of materials adapted to climate change. In some cases, they can increase performance up to 50% in stressful conditions.
The allelic variation existing in the promising candidate genes has also been evaluated, identifying both new alleles and superior alleles in each case.
Seven varieties with a certain tolerance to cold were identified that allow establishing seed potato production in the North of Spain in autumn after cereal and thus increasing the farmer's profit by 30%.
26 publications, 41 presentations at congresses, and 74 results dissemination and technology transfer activities were made.
990 farmers were trained in the use of recommended varieties.
1200 Ha were planted with the new recommended varieties / clones .
The direct beneficiaries have been the 990 farmers who were trained in the use of the new recommended varieties. Also, the thousands of researchers, professionals, technicians and farmers, both those involved in the project, as well as those who accessed the information generated and communicated through the Web, publications, conferences and numerous activities to disseminate results. Farmers who planted more than 1,200 Ha of the new varieties / clones benefited from increases in productivity and new knowledge.
Indirectly, in the future thousands of farmers will benefit from accessing improved varieties with higher productivity and resistance or tolerance to abiotic and biotic styles, as well as society in general.
Sustainable Development Goals
- NEIKER - España
- CIA - UCR - Costa Rica
- Grupo Yanapai - Perú
- Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria (INIA) - Perú
- Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
- Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP) - Ecuador
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
- Fundación para la Promoción e Investigación de Productos Andinos (PROINPA) - Bolivia