Institute develops new Irish potato variety to curb blight

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By Polycarp Auta

The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Kuru, near Jos, has developed a new variety of potato to tackle outbreak of blight.

Dr Khaya Shuaibu, a researcher in the institute, stated this at the Green Field Day, organised for potato farmers on Monday in Bokkos.

Shuaibu said that the initiative was supported by Global Biotechnology Potato Partnership (GBPP), under its ”Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Project Nigeria.”

According to him, the new variety is blight resistant and will encourage more investments in potato value chain.

Shuaibu, who doubles as the Trial Manager of GBPP for the project, said that the move would also boost production and enable farmers’ access to better yield and income.

He further stated that the field day was aimed at sensitising farmers, extension workers and researchers on the need to embrace the new initiative.

“This event is to create avenue for farmers, agricultural extension workers and researchers to share knowledge and experiences on the interventions being demonstrated.

”It is also intended to showcase our research findings on the new variety.

“NRCRI is collaborating with national and international partners to develop this, and the choice of Plateau for this trial is because the state produces 90 per cent of the potatoes in Nigeria.

”The last outbreak of potato late blight experienced by farmers in Plateau in 2022 destroyed about 32,000 hectares of farms.

”So, the biotech potato is resistant to late blight and can produce good yield without the application of fungicide and other chemicals,” he said.

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Also speaking, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Dr Hosea Finangwai, said that the state was blessed good weather and fertile soil for production of potato in large quantity.

Finangwai, who is currently the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Plateau State University, Bokkos, said that the institution was not only equipping its students with theoretical knowledge, but the practical aspects of modern farming.

He stated that the institution was partnering with various local and international organisations to support improved yields for farmer and also enjoy dividends of their produce. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

AZA/WAS
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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