In light of the recent heavy rainfall and flooding in parts of potato producing countries Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, it can be interesting to take a look at the results of this survey regarding the (future) influence of climate change on potato production, recently conducted as part of EU ADAPT. This research project aims to develop new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future.
Farmers’ perception of climate change
As the needs of potato growers are of fundamental interest for the project, ADAPT conducted an online survey asking for the farmers’ perception of climate change, their experiences concerning its impact on potato production, and their need for adapted potato varieties. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), the ADAPT partner responsible for the survey, received 553 replies, mostly from farmers with potato production locations in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Threat to maintain potato production
As mentioned above, almost 90 percent of the respondents indicated that changes in climatic conditions had affected their potato production in the last 10 years. Moreover, almost 50 percent defined climatic changes as a threat to maintain potato production at their farms. More than 80 percent of the participating potato growers indicated that drought and heat have increasingly affected their potato production in the last 10 years. In the opinion of more than 50 percent of the farmers, pests and pathogens induced by climatic conditions have had negative effects. More than 40 percent noted the impact of heavy precipitation and similar replies were obtained when asking for potential future impairment of potato production. ‘The survey shows that the focus and the expected outcome of the ADAPT project perfectly meet the needs of potato growers’, Europatat concluded.
About EU ADAPT
European Potato Trade Association Europatat is part of the international consortium involved in research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”), aiming for breeding multi-stress resistant potato varieties. Started in July 2020, the project will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
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