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First crop of nuclear seed potatoes unveiled in Canada

Staff writer |
The first crop of nuclear seed potatoes, grown from plantlets, has been unveiled by the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada by its Nuclear Seed Potato Propagation Facility.

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The potatoes have been produced from disease-free tissue culture plantlets. This is critical to the growth of a local potato industry, says Federation of Agriculture President, Melvin Rideout.

The new facility will help commercial potato farmers, like himself, grow potatoes for consumers, province-wide.

"It provides us with clean, disease-free seed," said Rideout.

"Currently we're bringing in seed from off-island. For the past five years we've struck a disease that has come in on a seed potato. With this facility, we should be alleviating all those incoming diseases that we don't have here."

It will take a few years before the nuclear seeds are ready for commercial production, says facility manager, Adam Fitzpatrick.

"There are some growing pains. Potatoes are a cool climate crop, so within a greenhouse you have issues with temperatures. "But every season you learn and develop new ways of doing things," he said.

The facility has adjusted to the weather as best it can, and has had some "great success", he said.

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