Lab Canada

Potato research centre marks milestone

Fredericton, NB – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Research Centre (PRC) in Fredericton is offering nine promising new potato varieties to industry for further testing, as the centre celebrates the tenth anniversary of its accelerated release program.

Each February, the centre hosts an open house to offer industry the best of its experimental potatoes under the program. These potatoes are in year six of a rigorous testing and selection program. The varieties are tested for yield, size, colour, resistance to pests and other characteristics before they are offered to the industry.

Industry representatives get detailed information on each potato available and can obtain the non-exclusive rights to conduct their own field and processing trials for two years.

The most recent example of the program’s success was the launch of Rochdale Gold potato by Co-op Atlantic in November of 2004. The Rochdale Gold is now being sold throughout Atlantic Canada by Co-op Atlantic.

In the past year, potato research and innovation received close to $4 million in federal funding, including:

– $3.6 million for a new facility to support field research activities at the Potato Research Centre; and

– $590,000 for the Potato Innovation Network, a national network geared to finding new markets and innovative uses for potatoes.