Parliamentary Secretary Gerald Keddy, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, along with Member of Parliament Mike Allen, today announced an investment of $1.83 million in a Canadian-led international research effort to give potato farmers a technological edge in predicting and preventing yield losses in their fields and in storage.
The collaborative research effort with several industry partners will be led by scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadas Potato Research Centre in Fredericton. Researchers from Canada, France and New Zealand will use new discoveries about potato DNA, microbial life in the soil and insect behavior to find better ways to measure the health and quality of potato plants and tubers.
This investment under Growing Forward 2 has helped leverage $821,800 in industry contributions. Project partners include BioNB, Comité Nord Plants des Pommes de Terre, Quebec-based potato operations Ferme Daniel Bolduc Inc. and Maxi-Sol Inc., Plant and Food Research New Zealand, Potatoes New Brunswick and France-based company Comptoir Commercial des Lubrifiants (CCL).
- Researchers will use a new generation of powerful computer-based gene sequencers to identify genes in potato DNA that indicates when the plant experiences stress, with the goal of using these genes as markers for diagnostic tools on the farm.
- DNA sequencing will also be used to identify the billions of species of microbial life in the soil and to study their impact on potato common scab.
- The AAFC investment in the project is made through the Industry-led Research and Development stream of Agriculture Canadas AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, up to $698-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.
The Canadian potato industry is a major economic driver in this country with annual farm and processing sales of more than $2 billion. This international collaboration brings together the research and technical resources of three countries to put the best possible science in the hands of our potato growers to create economic and environmental benefits.
– Parliamentary Secretary Gerald Keddy (South Shore-St. Margarets)
We are pleased to be participating in this project since collaboration and knowledge sharing are keys to success and to major discoveries, both in fundamental research and in field applications for producers and food processors.
– Dr. Virginie Gobert-Deveaux, Director of Research and Development, Comité Nord Plants de Pommes de Terre
This is a great example of bio-technology being used to develop innovative strategies to meet challenges in one of our traditional sectors. We look forward to working with our partners and commercializing the resulting technologies that will lead to increased yields and overall profits for farmers and a stronger and more sustainable potato industry.
– Meaghan Seagrave, Executive Director, BioNB
- Growing Forward 2 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
- AgriInnovation Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
- Bio New Brunswick (BioNB)
Executive Assistant to the Honourable Keith Ashfield
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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