Fertile Ground: TAP-5 Partnership Sprouts Farmer Empowerment

potato farmer in Kenya

TAP-5 Partnership Revolutionizes Potato Farming in Asia and Africa

Once plagued by the challenges of low-yielding potato varieties vulnerable to harmful bacteria (BLB) and viruses (PVX, PVY), potato growers in Asia and Africa are now on the brink of a transformation, thanks to the groundbreaking initiative known as TAP-5. This Public Private Partnership between the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Dutch seed company HZPCis set to revolutionize potato farming in these regions, bringing new hope to farmers.

At the core of TAP-5 lies a noble objective—to develop short-cycle (<90 days), high-yielding potato varieties that thrive in tropical conditions and possess the resilience to combat late blight, a major concern for potato farmers. These remarkable varieties are designed not only for table consumption but also for processing, catering to the diverse needs of the market.

CIP, renowned for its expertise in potato research, brings a wealth of valuable traits to the partnership. They offer resistance against diseases such as late blight, viruses, and the notorious Ralstonia bacteria. Additionally, their potato varieties are well-suited to lowland tropical and subtropical climates, exhibiting remarkable tolerance to abiotic stresses like heat and drought while maintaining desirable quality characteristics. HZPC, on the other hand, contributes to the collaboration with their access to germplasm specifically adapted for long-day conditions. They also boast strong partnerships with local stakeholders and possess the capacity for tuber seed production, efficacy assays, and advanced analytical methods.

The journey of TAP-5 began in 2016, and now, the first wave of specially developed clones, intended for South and Southeast Asia, as well as East Africa, is making its way to farmers. During the recent annual project review held in Dalat in February 2023, the steering committee focused on the progress of registration trials for an advanced clone named 210, which was part of the first wave and tested in Vietnam. The second-year registration trials have been completed successfully, and the registration certificate is expected to be issued this Summer. Before the official launch, the local HZPC partner in Vietnam will conduct additional testing of variety 210 for the next two years, while SFSA will provide support in designing customized protocols to test market fit and to adapt agronomic management and the economics plan for this variety.

In addition to discussing the advancements in the first wave, the team also reviewed the status and progress of breeding materials and testing clones for the second wave. Three advanced clones, namely 210, 206, and 204, have been tested in various Asian and African countries, including India and Indonesia, and HZPC will continue evaluating their performance.

Moreover, the team placed great emphasis on the importance of co-designing an effective approach to ensure the successful delivery of these newly improved varieties to smallholder farmers. Through this collaborative effort, their aim is to provide farmers with access to superior potato varieties that can significantly boost their yields and livelihoods.

A Promising Future awaits TAP-5 as it marches forward. The next review of the project's progress is scheduled for February 2024, where we will celebrate the forthcoming registration of the first variety resulting from the CIP-HZPC partnership in Vietnam. This significant milestone marks a giant leap in the revolution of potato farming, promising improved food security and a brighter future for Asia and Africa.

By harnessing the combined strengths of CIP and HZPC, TAP-5 is poised to leave a lasting impact on potato cultivation, empowering farmers with resilient and high-yielding varieties that have been meticulously tailored to suit their specific agro-climatic conditions.