A cultivar of potato resistant to diseases and flooding that has been developed in Taiwan could help ease a global shortage of the crop amid climate change, the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute said on Friday.
Speaking at a crop demonstration in Chiayi County’s Lioujiao Township (六腳), the institute said the potato was created in a program to crossbreed the Atlantic potato and high-yield varieties, which it conducted from 2016 to 2019.
The resulting cultivar, named Tainung No. 4, is tolerant of wet conditions, resilient against disease and easy to process — all desirable qualities for large-scale food production and organic farming, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute
The Tainung No. 4 was last month patented by the Agriculture and Food Agency, and the institute said it expects to begin working with farmers in the township to plant it some time next year.
Climate change has affected potato farming by causing floods and diseases, resulting in significant revenue losses, the institute said, adding that environmentally resilient varieties are in high demand.
An important measure of potato quality is dry matter content, which refers to the percentage of a potato’s weight that remains after water is removed from it, the institute said.
The Tainung No. 4 has a dry matter content of 22 percent, about the same as its parent, the Atlantic potato, which is considered a quality crop, and higher than that of the widely planted Kennebec potato at 19 percent, it said.
Tainung potatoes are evenly sized, and about 70 percent of the yield consists of large marketable tubers, while its low sugar content means it does not brown easily when fried, the institute said.
Another advantage is that the potato is easy to cook, as it has a pleasant, crumbly texture and can be boiled for a long time without becoming mushy, it said.
The variety has a planting to harvest time of about 100 to 110 days, is a mid-season crop and does not fully wither after being harvested, the institute added.
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