In Bangladesh most of the potatoes have relatively lower dry matter (e.g., 18-19% for the popular Diamant variety). Moreover, the most popular varieties in Bangladesh are susceptible to diseases like late blight, scab and potato viruses which results in increased production cost.
To address the above-mentioned issues, ACI Seed is working relentlessly to develop improved potato varieties through cutting-edge molecular interventions. ACI Seed has already developed late blight resistant indigenous potato varieties ACI Pakri-1 and ACI Pakri-2 following positive selection using molecular markers.
Also, a late blight resistant mega variety, ACI LBR Aster, has been developed through the introgression of multiple late blight resistant genes through a molecular breeding approach. Cultivating these varieties will ensure minimal input of synthetic fungicides, thus, reducing production cost as well as reducing the environmental pollution.
Apart from developing disease resistance in potato varieties, ACI Seed has also adopted molecular breeding approaches to develop various potato varieties for industrial purposes, such as, ACI Fry Alu-1, ACI Fry Alu-2, and ACI Fry Alu-3 for French fries; short duration ACI Alu-14, ACI Alu-15 and ACI LBR Courage that could be harvested at 60-65 days ensuring maximum profit to the farmers and varieties with up to 5-months’ long shelf life, for instance, ACI Pakri-2 and ACI Pakri-3, preventing financial losses due to perishing.
In addition, ACI Seed has a state-of-the-art plant tissue culture laboratory that producing virus-free potato plantlets through meristem culture, thus, ensuring 100 % virus-free potato seeds to the farmers.
The Bangladesh government has provided policy support by declaring potato as a non-notified crop for 3 years. As a result, ACI Seed is now introducing and marketing improved potato varieties like Valencia, Aroma, Aromata, Alexia and Cartagena from the Netherlands. By cultivating Valencia, farmers are getting 32-35MT/ha in 60-65 days in case of an early harvest. Such early harvesting can optimize the cropping gap. These yields are far greater than our estimated country average of 23.50 MT/ha for HYV potatoes (Source: Department of Agricultural Extension - DAE). Also, Valencia is tolerant to scab disease giving potato growers further relief from extra cost for fungicides.
Cultivating these improved varieties will ensure the maximum profit to the farmers with the least production cost.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO