In order to feed more people across the globe, our breeding programmes focus on food quality, disease resistance and yield. We also want to increase the nutritional value per m2 cultivated and, in so doing, contribute to the improvement of the global food supply.

There are still major differences in terms of yield in weight per hectare. An average of 47 tons is harvested per hectare in Western Europe, whereas the volume is just 17 and 19 tons, respectively, in Russia and 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 also limited due to susceptibility to disease. We can increase the yield per hectare substantially by supplying high-quality seed potato varieties with excellent properties, in combination with sharing product knowledge and cultivation expertise.

 
This is what we are already doing:

  1. Developing new, adapted varieties
  2. Research & development with respect to innovation
  3. Sharing expertise with customers and growers
  4. Reaching more people
     

 

1 – Developing new, adapted varieties

A spearhead in our new breeding strategy is the development of new varieties with high (intrinsic) qualities, for cultivation under difficult conditions such as heat, drought or poor soil. And varieties that are disease resistant. As a result, the sustainable cultivation of potatoes is encouraged and contributes towards food security. Read more about the increase in disease resistant varieties >>

With a wide network of test field locations around the world, we have included the most important climates and cultivation conditions in our variety testing. We aim to improve the performance of our varieties even further with research into the best degree of irrigation and fertilisation per variety. R&D conducts projects on stress (heat, drought, poor soil) among other things. We aim to increase the yield for growers of seed potatoes as well as the yield for the grower at the final destination.
 

Resistance to hot and humid weather: a tropical potato

A potato plant that is resistant to warm, humid weather. This was recently introduced by Zarina. The new variety is also resistant to Phytophthera. There is very little or no money for pesticides in these areas. The Zarina is therefore a highly suitable variety for South East Asia. 
 

New potato varieties

HZPC would like to add 5 new varieties to the catalogue of varieties each year. The following HZPC and STET* varieties were included in recent years:
 

Year

2013/2014

2014/2015

2015/2016

2016/2017

2017/2018

2018/2019

             
Number of varieties included in the catalogue of varieties 8 7 11 13 12 10
             
Names
  • Avanti
  • Baby Rose
  • Briosa
  • Dirosso
  • Double Fun
  • Fortus
  • Heraclea
  • Panamera
  • Carminelle
  • Farida
  • Iryna
  • Jennifer
  • Noblesse
  • Primabelle
  • Rosi

  • Cerata KWS
  • Delia Red
  • Elata KWS
  • Essenza
  • Explorer
  • Gaudi
  • Lavata KWS
  • Morgana
  • Sundance
  • Sunred
  • Kalista
  • Alverstone Russet
  • Anivia
  • Generosa
  • Hermosa
  • Joly
  • Prince of Orange
  • Whitney
  • Bricata KWS
  • SH C 913
  • SH C 1001
  • SH C 1010
  • Tyson
  • Aquila
  • Alcander
  • Allison
  • Althea
  • Amber
  • Crystal
  • Pearl
  • Fenway Red
  • Mulberry Beauty
  • Sumatra
  • Triple7
  • SH C 909
  • Trinity
  • Aurum
  • Cardyma
  • La Vie
  • Marisol
  • Pee Wee Russet
  • Perdiz
  • Tiger
  • Zarina
  • Brianna
  • Red Beauty

* STET Holland is part of HZPC Holding and uses HZPC R&D in Metslawier for the development of varieties.
 

2 – Research & development with respect to innovation

Innovative methods

We also expect great things from mutating potatoes using a gene editing process, within the regular breeding norms. This innovation offers huge benefits. Thanks to this technique, progress can be realised much more rapidly than with breeding, particularly in the area of disease resistance. Unfortunately, Europe has implemented restrictive legislation in relation to this, meaning we must therefore test and market the relevant products outside of European borders.
 

Hybrid potatoes

There is a promising future for growing hybrid potato varieties. We are making huge strides with this technique. In Kenya, HZPC has trial fields where potatoes are tested directly from seed. We expect to create a prototype in 2021 which can be released onto the market in Central Africa in 2025.
 

 

3 – Sharing expertise with customers and growers

Direct contact

We are improving yields and preventing food wastage by offering production/technical support (with respect to agronomy and product management) to chain partners. This direct contact with our chain partners and customers is maintained by an international team which comprises around 90 HZPC colleagues. Everyone takes responsibility for providing as much support as possible to our partners in the potato chain.
 

App for growers in developing countries

We support growers across the globe. Even smaller growers in countries such as Africa and Asia benefit from partnerships. Over the past year, we have developed an app that they can consult. This allows us to share our expertise and help smaller growers increase their yields and prevent food wastage. The app offers practical information and advice, such as explaining the best times for planting, and noting which varieties are suitable for particular soils. Advice is also provided about fertilisation, crop protection agents and irrigation.
 

Small farmers big deal

Small farmers, big deal, an initiative by Agriterra, calls upon agri-food enterprises, the Dutch government and knowledge institutions to give farmers' organisations and cooperatives in developing countries a bigger role to play in Dutch trade, aid and investment policy. HZPC is a member of the initiative group behind Small farmers big deal. 

Read more about Small farmers big deal
 

4 – Reaching more people

Exports to new countries

We aim to reach more people around the world with our products each year. In this way, we can contribute to food security and to a healthy and varied diet. We focus on adding new countries and increasing seed potato acreage. We also supply to countries which are hard to access due to war or (limited/non-existent) infrastructure, guided by the notion that everyone has the right to food.

Structurally speaking, with direct and indirect sales, we delivered to 90 countries. We talk of structural sales if a country purchases seed potatoes for three consecutive years or in four years out of five.


 

Giving small scale farmers in Africa access to high-quality seed potatoes

Helping small scale African farmers to improve their food production is extremely important in response to the strong growth in population and demand for food.
Top quality seed potatoes are rarely used. Consequently, harvests are up to five times smaller.

The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture from Switzerland helps small scale farmers in developing countries to achieve higher incomes through innovation and sustainable agriculture. Their project ‘Seeds2B’ offers farmers access to top quality seed potatoes. The focus within this project is on potatoes as they can help to provide food security while having a low impact.  

HZPC is a partner of Seeds2B. With its knowledge and strong variety portfolio, HZPC contributes to the development of the market for small scale farmers in this tropical region. Twelve varieties are now officially approved for import to the various countries in the region.