Researchers from Wageningen University & Research have visited China for the third time to give a potato workshop at the Sino GAP Conference at the request of the Strategic Alliance for Industrial Technology Innovation of Potato (SAITIP) in China. Their contribution was so successful that researchers from Wageningen University & Research and the Netherlands Potato Organisation (NAO - Nederlandse Aardappel Organisatie) have again been asked to organise the potato conference next year.
The Netherlands is a potato country. And that is the way they see things in China as well. The Netherlands and Wageningen University & Research are regarded as the leaders when it comes to knowledge and technology in the field of potatoes. This year, NAO and Wageningen University & Research gave presentations and carried out demonstrations at the Sino GAP conference. The Netherlands and Wageningen University & Research have been asked to play a major role in next year’s edition as well.
This year’s potato conference was held in the city of Dali from 8 to 10 March, 2018. The aim of the conference is to bring together industry and research institutions to stimulate collaboration in the field of sustainable potato growing and processing. The programme comprised a day of lectures on a range of themes in the field of propagating materials, cultivation, controlling disease and preservation, and a day with a field trip. The Dutch lectures were given by representatives of HZPC, Tolsma Grisnich, APH/Omnivent and ProPhytis. International contributions were made by Bayer and DuPont.
The field trip provided a good view of the ‘early spring potato crops’ grown in the Dali region of Yunnan. The planting time is end December to start January. The harvest is in May. Average yields are 40-45 tonnes per ha, which is almost three times the Chinese national average. For Chinese conditions, the financial result per crop yield is extremely high. The biggest difficult facing cultivation is the risk of damage from night frost, according to YAU. The risk of late and early blight is very low, on account of dry conditions during the growing season. Fungicides are scarcely used, if at all. Moisture provision is done by means of (mountain water) irrigation systems provided by the government. Around 5% of plants infected with a virus were found in the crops. Improvement here is certainly a possibility. According to YAU, the risk of soil-borne diseases is also low, because cultivation takes place in rotation with wet rice cultivation. Previous editions of the conference were held in Harbin (2015) and Zhangjiakou (2016). This year’s edition boasted a very Dutch character. Organisation was by Yunnan Agricultural University (YAU, host), SAITIP, HAAS, Wageningen University & Research and NAO, with support from the Dutch embassy in Beijing.