NOTE: The UK's Sarvari Research Trust has a crowd funding appeal on Buzzbnk. This will help this not-for-profit research trust continue its development of non-GM blight resistant potatoes.
The UK's John Innes Centre has received GBP1.7 million in public funding to develop GM blight resistant potatoes. By contrast, Sarvari have received absolutely nothing for its breeding work.
This is typical of how innovative and successful non-GM breeding is so often starved of resources, while large amounts of money are wasted on far less successful GM projects for which there is no market!
Although the Sarvari Research Trust has about 35 varieties in the pipeline that show promise against blight, they lack the income to develop them to the point of getting them on the National List. National Listing is a legal requirement before new varieties can enter the market.
That's the reason for the crowd sourcing. So please do what the UK Government is determined not to do – help Sarvari to demonstrate that the GM versions on which the Government has lavished public money are completely unnecessary.
Pete Riley of GM Freeze tells us, "So far Sarvari has five varieties with very good resistance to the current strains of blight in the UK which are all prefixed with Sarpo (Mira, Axona, Shona, Una and Gwen). In the worst year in living memory for late blight, my three Sarpo varieties on my allotment – Mira, Axone, and Shona - have come through and are still putting on leaf growth."
See also http://sarvari-trust.org/
Please circulate this appeal widely.
For more on the John Innes Centre
Non-GM blight resistant potatoes champion, the Sarvari Research Trust, faces collapse
Geoff Tansey blog, 7 August 2012
The future of the Sarvari Research Trust which researches and produces non-GM blight resistant potatoes is in doubt, said its director, Dr David Shaw, at the Trust’s 10th open day, near Bangor, North Wales, Friday last (3 August). As little as GBP100,000 a year could make all the difference.
Here’s an interview with David
Despite producing a range of blight resistant red and white skinned potatoes, with names such as Sárpo Mira, Blue Danube and Kifli, with a growing uptake, they face a Catch-22 situation over financing to scale up the production of seed potatoes to a level that would also support the work of the Trust, as its government and charitable financing runs out.
They have had requests from around the world for the potatoes, including from DR Congo, Egypt and Sweden. Earlier this year they responded to a request from Ireland from SPUDS Sustainable Potatoes United Development Study which is pioneering a people-led piece of research to show their suitability in Ireland.
People’s research in Ireland
Nike Ruf enthusiastically described how, in response to the Irish agriculture and food development authority’s, Teagasc’s, application for GM potato trials, SPUDS gave away the non-GM blight resistant potatoes around the country for individuals to grow as well as recruited commercial growers into the trials. As of last week, they are all reportedly doing well with no blight, and taste tests are planned post harvest to demonstrate consumer acceptability.
Here’s an interview with Nike -
Varying levels of municipal green waste compost applications can alter the dry matter content of their potatoes and so affect their suitability for different end uses according to research done over the past year by the Trust’s trials and seed manager, Simon White. It is his future that is most immediately threatened if they cannot find further funding very soon.
As well as potatoes the Trust has been working with ProVeg seeds on tomatoes, which are also affected by blight. ProVeg are funding part of the tomato work of the Trust. Jamie Stroud, a PhD student on the KESS scheme is identifying resistance genes to late-blight disease of tomato and he showed guests around the tomato trials.
PS. Blight Monitors wanted
This has been an exceptionally good year for blight occurring with a farmer at my local farmers market yesterday saying this year he’s been spraying every 4 days not every 14 days as he does in normal years. Gary Collins of the Potato Council told the meeting the Council is still looking for more blight monitors around the country, including people growing potatoes on allotments or in their gardens.