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World Potato Congress in New Zealand


March 24, 2009
By World Potato Congress

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potatoes02March 23, 2009, Christchurch, New Zealand – Potato industry members
from around the world have gathered in New Zealand this week to sample
that country’s potato production during the 7th Annual World Potato
Congress.

March 23, 2009, Christchurch, New Zealand – Potato industry members from around the world have gathered in New Zealand this week to sample that country’s potato production during the 7th Annual World Potato Congress .

potatoes02New Zealand’s potato science programs are attracting attention – including the country’s number one cultivar, Moonlight – as expert speakers gathered in Christchurch to talk on the global potato industry’s future.

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It is the first world congress to be hosted in New Zealand and the country’s potato science is under the spotlight. The nation’s potato research programs are carried out at Plant & Food Research, the new Crown Research Institute formed in December 2008 through the merger of HortResearch and Crop & Food Research.

Much of the research is in partnership with industry including Potatoes New Zealand, processors and food manufacturers and it receives funding from both the New Zealand government and from royalties from cultivar sales.

A recent new technology developed by Plant & Food Research scientists is saving growers in New Zealand, Australia and now North America hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in fertilizer and irrigation costs. The Potato Calculator is a decision-support web site that enables farmers and processors to predict yield and maturity dates. It has been extensively trialed and is being marketed by CropLogic.

New Zealand’s sole commercial potato breeding program is based at Plant & Food Research. The popular Moonlight potato – a smooth white-skinned, white-fleshed, general-purpose potato named after mountain runner, Melissa Moon – is one of the releases. Another latest release is a purple skinned potato with purple tones in its flesh, named Purple Heart. The purple colours come from anthocyanin pigments, which are strong antioxidants.

The 7th World Potato Congress is at the Christchurch Convention Centre from Sunday, March 22 to Wednesday, March 25, 2009.


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