The French seed potato sector is leading significative actions of research and development intending to :
• Ensuring the health and quality of certified seed potatoes,
• Breeding potato varieties, which are adapted to the various markets or climates and meeting the users needs and the new environmental requirements
• Developing innovative strategies for the production of seed potatoes, limiting the phytosanitary inputs
• Strengthening the competitive position of the French production
The French seed potato sector organizes its Research and Development at various levels:
• National research programs led in partnership with public research centres, and in particular with INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), but also with CNRS (National Institute for Scientific Research) and Universities;
• Breeding programs in regional seed potato stations;
• Development programs in seed potato centres or with farmers to improve the farming practices for seed potato production ;
• A network of specialized technicians and laboratories transfering the results to growers or professionals
These research programmes are operated at national and regional level, by FN3PT and its regional associations (Bretagne-Plant, Comité Nord / SIPRE and Comité Centre-et-Sud), which altogether are recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture as the French Agricultural Technical Institute for seed potatoes, and gathers a staff of 56 researchers, engineers and technicians :
· 26 permanent staff working in public research centers,
· 17 permanent staff working in the regional seed potato stations and laboratories,
· 13 permanent staff in the potato breeding stations
Some programs are driven with the support of SEMAE (formerly GNIS, French Interprofessional Organisation for Seeds and Plants), in particular for the actions linked with the certification.
This R&D activity is funded mainly by the seed potato growers. It represents a coherent device from prospective research to the transfer of the results to the professionals, which is inserted into an effective network of partnerships.