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Frontpage News 2013 Joint research to assess climate risks to potato production

potet polsk norsk prosjekt M B Bruberg[1]
Photo: © May Bente Brurberg, Bioforsk Plantehelse

Joint research to assess climate risks to potato production

Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the potato. A Polish-Norwegian research partnership is seeking to assess the effects of global warming.

Potatoes are an important food staple and the number one vegetable crop in the world. As temperatures increase and the weather becomes more volatile, many reports suggest that the potato, which grows best in cooler climates, could suffer. Higher levels of rainfall make the vegetable more vulnerable to potato soft rot. And a lack of preventative pesticides makes disease management very challenging.

Risks and impacts on production

Bioforsk Plantehelse, the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute in Młochów and the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdańsk and Medical University have joined up to work together on a research project looking at the most common potato diseases – soft rot and late blight.

Through their research they hope to be able to better measure the impact of climate change on the potato and its vulnerability to diseases. They also want to develop a forecasting model assessing the risk of potato-related diseases. 

The project, amounting to €1 million, is financed by the Norway Grants.

A serious concern

With a yield exceeding  8.7 million tonnes every year, Poland is one of the world’s leading potato producers. May Bente Brurberg, scientist at Bioforsk Plantehelse, warned about the effects of climate change:

“Climate change is having a massive impact on the agricultural sector, especially for diseases related to plants and pesticides. Both potato soft rot and potato late blight lead to substantial harvest losses, and combatting disease is expensive and demanding.”

About the programme

The bilateral research programme has a total allocation of €62.8 million. The objective of the programme is to enhance research-based knowledge development between Norway and Poland.

The programme operator is the National Centre for Research and Development, with the Research Council of Norway playing an important role as the programme partner.

Funds have been allocated to 68 different projects, in areas such as climate change, environment, health and gender equality.

You can read more about the programme here.