Experts Reveal How To Boost Potato Yield


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The National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI) has said that Nigerian researchers have the capacity and competence to do increase yield of potatoes through biotechnology.

NRCRI disclosed on Thursday, March 21, 2023 during the 2024 Annual Review and Planning Workshop of the National Root Crop Research Institute, with the theme, “Advancing Sustainable Root and Tuber Crops-based Farming System in Nigeria – A Pathway To Resilient Agrifood Systems.”

The institute stated that farmers in the nation will receive genetically modified potatoes (GMOs) resistant to late blight disease through the use of government funds and the findings of research conducted by Nigerian researchers.

During his research presentation at the event titled, “The Multi-Locational Evaluation of Potatoes Resistant to late blight”, the Principal Investigator, PI (Nigeria) of the Global Bio-Tech Potato Partnership in Nigeria, Dr. Charles Amadi said, “The project is being handled by a multi-national, multi-sectorial consortium” that is being funded by the USAID and anchored by the Michigan State University, while other collaborators include the International Potato Centre and some others in Kenya, and Bangladesh, among others.

Amadi informed that one of the objectives of the project was to build local capacity for funding:

“We have sent a scientist to Kenya and he has been trained on how to do that transformation. He has undergone that training twice – in 2022 and 2023.

“So he is trained to carry out this transformation and we are also acquiring the equipment, some of which we already have including the Mini-PCR, the implementation imager and a lot of other basic equipment and consumables and now the manpower.

“We need to be able to set up a transgenic laboratory. We look up to the government for funding.

“The project is being funded by USAID, but what normally happens is that when funding ends, projects tend to fizzle out, but we don’t expect it to be the same here. This is because the bio-tech potatoes will sell themselves as farmers are eager to pick them up, but they must wait until after the regulatory trial. We need funding to continue the transformation. We are talking about continuity.

“So, if we cannot get funding from outside, we will need to rely on internal sources of funding. So we look towards the government to provide funds sufficiently and timely and then the pre-requisite infrastructure and security which are required to have a convivial working environment”, he said.


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