Lab Canada

Network to focus on potato research

Fredericton, NB – A new BioPotato Network is receiving $5.3 million in funding from the federal government to support research that will help develop new markets for potato farmers.

The network will focus on five areas: value-added uses for the potato, health and pharmaceutical products, dietary properties, potato-based plastics and insect control.

Across Canada, the potato industry is worth nearly $6 billion to the national economy and creates more than 30,000 jobs, mostly in rural areas. In 2008, Atlantic Canadian farmers produced more than 1.7 million tonnes of potatoes.

“We have been dedicated to getting the best out of potatoes since we developed and released our first potato variety in 1951,” said Jacques Millette, research manager at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton. “We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort to broaden this exploration into so many different areas and with potential benefits for so many people.”

Funding for the three-year project is being provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP).

Led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the BioPotato Network will bring together 12 organizations and 32 scientists including AAFC’s Potato Research Centres in Fredericton, Guelph and Lethbridge, BioAtlantech, PEI Food Technology Centre, McMaster University, the University of Guelph, Dalhousie University, the University of Toronto, the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of New Brunswick, Holland College, the Potato Innovation Network Pin2020 and the National Research Council’s Institute for Nutrisciences and Health.