Potato Blight or Phytophthora infestans is a common problem for many (organic) potato farmers around the world. GMO companies claim there is now a blight resistant GMO potato variety available. With this claim the GMO lobby hopes to convince the EU parliament to begin relaxing the GMO restrictive legislation in Europe.
Organic and non-GMO farmers are positive that the search for genetic blight resistant potato varieties is a waste of time and resources, because there are already several resistant potato varieties on the market. This resistance has been bred into potato by normal, conventional, traditional breeding methods already for thousands of years in practice.
Phil Sumption, at the Organic Research Centre, is concerned about the bigger picture of a GM solution: “The problem with GM potatoes is that you are going down a one or two variety route, rather than investing in diversity, which is a potential risk when the resistance breaks down.”
Non-GMO solutions for Potato Blight
There are also a number of different management systems known to avoid or reduce the incidence of potato blight. Monoculture is more likely than not the cause of big damages due to potato blight. Bio diverse cropping systems, using potato blight resistant varieties and practicing a wide crop rotation are all proven methods to assist growers to avoid the loss of the potato crop due to blight.
Now we have to wait and see to find out whether or not the members of the EU parliament are resistent to GMO lobbyists.