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"It doesn't compete with other varieties because it is different and unique"
Elbe potato, the best variety in Costa Rica
The improved Elbe potato variety is grown in the mountains of the northern zone of Cartago and Zarcero. This potato's resistance, yield, and quality have been improved, making it the best potato variety created in the country over other varieties, such as the Floresta (white potato), Granola (yellow potato), or Unica variety (red skin).
Agroservicios del Surco SA is the company that holds the license for its seed. The license was granted by the Management and Knowledge Transfer for Innovation Unit (Proinnova-UCR) in 2015. This company works as a link between the Elbe variety developed in the UCR and the potato producing farmers.
This potato variety was developed by researcher Arturo Brenes, from the Laboratory of Plant Biotechnologies (LBP) of the Center for Agronomic Research, who took ten years to consolidate this improved material.
What makes it so special?
According to Brenes, this tuber is immune to usual pests crops, such as the late blight and leaf miner, and has an improved resistance, which generates a significant reduction in expenses on pesticides and fungicides and increases its competitiveness in the market.
The field evaluations in Brenes' research also confirmed that the tuber wasn't affected by fungi or soil bacteria. The Elbe variety has a high content of dry matter and low levels of reducing sugars, something essential for the industry, Brenes stated.
The Elbe variety can yield up to 50 tons per hectare in a 120-day life cycle. In other words, it can produce 10 to 15 tubers per plant.
The tubers have an oval shape, a light beige color, a smooth skin and a creamy internal color.
"The Elbe variety does not compete with other existing varieties because its characteristics are different and unique; there's just no point of comparison. This variety came to fill a vacuum there's been for many years regarding the country's potato varieties. It will allow the producing sector to achieve profitability and real sustainability, as well as the possibility of producing potatoes with a lower environmental impact and giving the final consumer a product that has a higher degree of safety," said Sanabria.
According to the National Institute of Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology (INTA), Costa Rica has 2,618 hectares devoted to potato production, which produce 61,807 tons, and an average yield of approximately 23.66 tons per hectare.
Publication date: 1/18/2018
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