Working on the development of Edurne, a new potato variety with its own name

28 July 2021

Working on the development of Edurne, a new potato variety with its own name

  • The UDAPA cooperative is conducting an agricultural study as well as a market acceptance study on the Edurne potato variety created by NEIKER
  • We signed an agreement to send the co-op 1,200 kg of seeds of this new potato variety 
  • With fine skin and pale-yellow flesh, the Edurne potato has received great tasting scores and both fries and boils well

Helping the agricultural sector by developing new products to diversify it and adapt to consumer demands is part of our philosophy. Accordingly, after the success of the market launch of the Beltza potato, a purple variety with antioxidant properties, we once again joined forces with the Araba-based co-op UDAPA to develop a new potato variety called Edurne.

By virtue of the collaboration agreement signed by the two organizations, the co-op specializing in high-quality potato production is going to conduct an agricultural study and a market acceptance study on this new potato variety created and registered by NEIKER. We have delivered 1,200 kg of Edurne potato seeds to UDAPA, which has planted them on the farm of one of its partner producers to carry out the agricultural assessment.

The estimated 15,000 kg harvest obtained will be used to conduct a market acceptance study. UDAPA will launch this new variety onto the market via its customers in the large-scale distribution industry. The results of this pilot test will help the co-op to assess the viability of producing and selling the Edurne variety in the future.

“For now, this new variety is adapting perfectly to our farmland, so we are expecting a high-quality harvest in September”, said Ana Carrasco, UDAPA’s R&D+i director. “Once we launch on the market, we’ll conduct the market acceptance study, but everything seems to indicate that consumer acceptance will be positive, as that was precisely the conclusion of another study done with consumers in the previous phase”.

What is Edurne like? In the words of José Ignacio Ruíz de Galarreta, a researcher at NEIKER’S Department of Plant Production and Protection, this new variety of potato is characterised by “having very fine skin and light-yellow flesh, being easy to wash and peel, and being apt for both frying and boiling, making it ideal for domestic consumption, as was demonstrated by the high acceptance rate it obtained at tastings with consumers”. For this researcher, it is also a more productive potato than other varieties currently available on the market, as it improves crop efficiency. “Due to its larger production and limited need for fertiliser, it helps to fulfil the goals of the European Union’s Farm to Fork strategy”, he explained.

In search of new potato varieties: from Beltza to Edurne

NEIKER registered the new Edurne variety with the European Plant Variety Protection Registry in 2020, in line with its mission to help the agricultural sector with new products to diversify and adapt to consumer demands.

Over the last few years, we have initiated a selection program to obtain varieties adapted to our growing conditions that also have high levels of bioactive compounds and high antioxidant capacity, which are associated with delayed cell ageing and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

A result of this line of work is the Beltza potato, which reached the market at the end of last year in collaboration with UDAPA, where it was very well received by consumers. The co-op has already planted 700 kg of Beltza potato seeds, named after its purple hue, on one of its partners’ farms.

NEIKER’s Plant Production and Protection Department’s procedure for obtaining new varieties uses strictly natural methods by crossing different varieties with good agricultural characteristics offering resistance to the crop’s primary diseases.

Since 1933, the year when the Iturrieta Potato Improvement Station (Araba) was created, we have been using clonal selection to develop new potato varieties adapted to the agroclimatic conditions of different potato-growing regions in Spain and the EU. To date, we have registered over 30 varieties, some of which have had major success on the Spanish and international markets.

The advantages of these proprietary varieties include better production yield, reduced costs and better resistance to various diseases, in addition to preventing dependence on non-domestic varieties.

For more than 80 years, the Basque government has been firmly committed to this line of work and has co-funded these projects. The new varieties we obtain are always made available to local seed potato farmers and farmers who grow potatoes for consumption. Their market success brings back funds for NEIKER to reinvest into developing new varieties not only of potatoes, but also of other crops including bell peppers, hot peppers, chard and corn, among others.