Seed potato technology, certfication and supply chains Training

The Netherlands, 2 – 20 June 2008

Course focus
Potatoes are grown for many uses such as food, cash crops, food security crops and raw materials for processing. In all cases, a reliable supply of good quality seed is crucial to the development of the potato sector.

The Netherlands are internationally renowned for their practical approaches and applications in the seed potato industry. Cooperation between public and private sectors has resulted in innovative developments in breeding and variety development, seed production, storage, seed certification and marketing. The Dutch approach to seed sector development and worldwide partnerships provides new insights and knowledge for the sustainable development of seed potato supply systems in developing countries or countries with an economy in transition.

In many countries seed potatoes are supplied through a complex combination of traditional seed systems and official seed programmes. Advances in seed potato technology and novel methods of multiplication generate numerous options for improving local seed supply systems, both in terms of quality and quantity. Control of seed quality, development of realistic standards and seed certification are essential elements of a viable seed industry.

The course reviews the current knowledge on seed potato technology and its application in different agro-ecological regions of the world. It assesses the efficient use of modern technology in seed supply systems, the development of adequate seed policies and institutional requirements. Relevant examples from the Dutch seed potato industry will be discussed during the course.
Aims and objectives
To improve the participants’ knowledge of the technical, organisational, institutional and socio-economic aspects of seed potato supply systems. To increase participants’ expertise concerning all major aspects of seed potato production; these aspects include:
  • Multiplication methods and their implementation in local seed supply systems
  • Quality factors in seed potatoes and how they can be managed
  • Seed certification and how it can be set up
  • Assessing the types of institutions and policies needed to develop national seed supply systems
  • Identifying practical means to address the constraints in seed supply systems in the participants’ home countries.

Training methods
The training programme gives participants the opportunity to learn from the broad international experience represented not only by our trainers, but also by other participants. We facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience through a variety of formats: lectures, practicals, demonstrations, brainstorming sessions, group discussions and assignments. We use case studies to illustrate theoretical concepts, and field visits and excursions to demonstrate practices in the Dutch seed potato industry.

Fellowships and Application
A limited number of fellowships are available from the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for nationals of certain countries. NFP-candidates must FIRST apply to Wageningen International for admission to the training. Acceptable candidates will receive a PROVISIONAL LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE from Wageningen International. Candidates can then apply for a NFP fellowship through the Netherlands Embassy or Consulate in their own country. Applications for NFP fellowships should be submitted to Wageningen International before 1 February 2008.

The admission deadline for application directly to Wageningen International, with funding other than a NFP fellowship, is 2 May 2008. Application Form

Who can participate?
The course is designed for project and programme managers, policy makers and senior technical staff who are involved in potato development in general and seed supply systems in particular. Most participants are employed by the seed industry, national research or development programmes, governmental and non-governmental organisations or universities.

Applicants must meet the following criteria. They should:

  • Have an MSc degree (or at least a BSc)
  • Have at least three years of professional experience
  • Be actively involved in or committed to the course subject matter.

Course programme
The programme covers the complete seed potato chain from laboratory to seed grower to the final seed user. It addresses the role of public and private organisations – and partnerships between them – in breeding, variety development, seed production and marketing. It also includes the institutional requirements for the development of seed policies and regulations.

Various systems for producing basic and pre-basic seed will be demonstrated. We will discuss the production of certified and other forms of improved seed, integrated pest and disease control, as well as the phytosanitary issues in international trade. We will address possibilities for improving formal and informal seed supply systems in different regions and environments. The programme also covers the implications of using true potato seed as an alternative to vegetatively-produced tubers.

Part of the course is devoted to the topic of seed certification and its application in local seed systems. We will present methods for field inspection (including hands-on experience), demonstrate how to monitor aphid populations and discuss the role of haulm killing in seed production. We will demonstrate post-harvest control tests for virus and bacterial diseases, together with batch inspection and certification procedures. Finally, we will examine the development of appropriate rules, regulations and certification standards.

For applicants with funding other than a NFP fellowship the possibility exists to follow only that part of the course that covers seed inspection and seed certification. Further details of this possibility are available on request.

Netherlands General Inspection Service for Agricultural Seeds and Seed Potatoes (NAK), Netherlands Potato Consultative Foundation (NIVAP), Institutes of Wageningen University and Research Centre, Plant Protection Service (PD), International Potato Centre (CIP).

Certificate: Participants are granted a Certificate of Attendance.



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