KWS SAAT SE and the J.R. Simplot Company have founded a new joint venture company Aardevo B.V., to deliver top-performing potato varieties through hybrid breeding. The JV combines the highly advanced potato growing and processing capabilities of Simplot (Boise/USA) with the wealth of experience and expertise in hybrid plant breeding of KWS (Einbeck/Germany).
Aardevo will focus on breeding new potato varieties with improved and novel traits, quicker than ever before. By enhancing taste and texture, producing greater yield, and strengthening disease resistance and processing quality, Aardevo will provide new and exciting choices for growers and consumers.
Both partners are excited to shape the future of the potato value chain and to establish a leading role in the business. The common goals are an effective development of new potato varieties and a more efficient delivery of planting material to the grower. Ultimately this will bring economic benefit and lead to more profitable businesses across the whole value chain.
“KWS has been working on this project for seven years, with a partner as experienced as Simplot, we will be able to shape the future of one of the most important staple foods globally, and drive our vision and common goals even faster,” said Peter Hofmann, member of the KWS Executive Board.
“Farmers have been growing the same commercial potato varieties for dozens of years, yet there are thousands of wild varieties with natural disease resistance, antioxidants, greater yields and other benefits and Aardevo will focus on those,” said Scott Simplot, chairman of Simplot. “We are delighted to be working with KWS, one of the world’s leading breeding companies, to bring these benefits to farmers, processors and consumers.”
Due to the genetic make-up of potatoes, the breeding of a new variety currently takes up to 15 years. To speed up this process substantially, one of the goals set by Aardevo is the creation of diploid hybrid potatoes which are more amenable to conventional breeding than their tetraploid counterparts. Furthermore, the long-term ambition is to provide farmers with true potato seed from which to grow potato plants. Using true potato seed for planting instead of whole or cut-up tubers, delivers more reliable starting material with decreased risk for disease and environmental benefits for storage.
The headquarters of Aardevo will be located in Nagele, The Netherlands, with additional R&D operations in Boise, Idaho, United States. The partners have agreed not to disclose any information on the financial details of the joint venture. Each party holds 50 per cent equity of the company.