Seed World

Hybrid True Potato Seeds Deliver Economic and Nutritional Security to the World  

As seed producers, we are pressured to deliver nearly impossible results for the global food value chain. 

We must reliably supply an increasing amount of product to support farmers in feeding the world’s growing population, all while accommodating unpredictable events that stress seed production. At the same time, we are being asked to develop more resilient seeds so farmers can better withstand climate change, extreme weather, evolving disease pressures and other threats and still deliver reliable crop yields. It is a responsibility we willingly carry, of course, but it is not easy. We know the key to global food and nutritional security lies in the economic security of the seed production industry. So how can we as an industry remain stable, scale further and still pursue innovation breakthroughs to support our customers? 

The answer is hybrid seeds. Many of our peers have been producing hybrid seeds for decades. The crops grown with these seeds power the agricultural economy: they are the fortifications of our food security, having protected the world’s food supply for some time. Their reliability has also given other industries the space to develop their own solutions to address food insecurity. In short: the reliability of our industry’s work — seeds — helps make all other agricultural innovations possible. 

Joost van Regteren, CCO at Solynta

For that reason, it is time for hybrid seeds to stand at center stage yet again, this time to bring new sustainability and reliability to a critical global crop not always associated with seeds: the potato. Hybrid true potato seeds are the application of hybrid breeding we have all been waiting for. They will bring our sector increased economic security and, in doing so, more nutritional and food security. 

True potato seeds are the ideal starting material for seed value chain members. They are consistently disease-free, quickly scalable, and available year-round – which improves farmers’ economic security. We’ve proven these effects time and time again in rigorous field-testing across more than 40 countries. After working closely with farmers, distributors and corporations to validate the performance of these varieties, it is also clear that hybrid true potato seeds help potato growers manage seasons of volatility.

Which brings us to today. For nearly two decades, we have focused on developing relationships with regulators, working with partners in field trials, building a production system for hybrid true potato seeds, and expanding our team of customer support agronomists. The demand for solutions is higher than ever before. The lack of potato seed tubers is now a serious issue in Europe and all importing countries due to the effects of climate change. Prices have gone up considerably as a result. We know that this will continue to be a big problem for many potato growers. While we can produce as many true seeds as the market needs, far more partners – from nurseries to seedling producers to tuber producers to multinational seed suppliers – are needed to make access to hybrid potatoes a reality. 

If helping solve global food insecurity is part of your mission statement, and if your company seeks ways to do so without threatening its economic security, I invite you to join me to explore the potential of true potato seeds. Come be part of a positive and tangible impact on global food insecurity. There’s much we can do together.

—Joost van Regteren is CCO at Solynta