Researchers will be testing genetically modified potatoes in Bangladesh and Indonesia this year in hopes of providing farmers with an alternative to spraying fungicides. Multiple confined field trials of GM late blight-resistant (LBR) potatoes will be conducted in both countries under a Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership.
Potatoes are some of the most important crops grown in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Indonesia produces about 1.3 million tons of potatoes annually, while the tubers are the third most important food crop after rice and wheat in Bangladesh. But late blight disease is a serious problem in both countries, destroying 25 to 57 percent of the crop.
Under a partnership funded by the United States Agency for International Development, Michigan State University (MSU), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology Genetic Resources Research and Development, among others, are working to develop and commercialize an LBR potato in farmer-preferred varieties in Indonesia and Bangladesh.