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Dutch company inks deal with Kenya’s largest potato producer to end seed shortage

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By George Munene

Dutch hybrid potato breeding technology company Solynta and FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tubers, have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of hybrid true potato seedlings to put an end to the shortage of clean planting material in the region.

The company aims to give farmers access to disease-free seed tubers grown from Solynta’s non-GMO breeding technology. These can be grown with specific beneficial traits and optimize their yield considerably, with limited risk.

The partnership will allow FreshCrop to not be reliant on existing potato genetics by having access to new, robust potato varieties from hybrid true potato seed.

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“Existing potato diseases diminish yield and affect the overall potato quality considerably. We are continuously looking for new ways to provide our customers with solutions to their problems,” Chris Gasperi, founder, and CEO of FreshCrop, said in a news release. “We are currently working very closely with Solynta to ensure FreshCrop brings the most innovative and adapted products to its customers in the Kenyan market.”

FreshCrop noted that it had the production and distribution infrastructure in place to facilitate easy and fast distribution of clean starting material to the rural communities of Kenya, meaning all farmers can benefit, even in the most remote areas. 

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Linking the Solynta innovative seed technology with FreshCrops distribution network, the companies noted, will make the local potato supply chain more efficient, sustainable, and flexible.

“We strongly believe in empowering local farming communities by providing clean high quality starting material that is adapted to local growing conditions. We believe we can add value to local farmers with the introduction of specific genetic traits that are tailored to the Kenyan climate and soil,” Charles Miller, Solynta’s director of business development, said.

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