Potato yields need to make a stepped increase to cope with global demand, declared Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) chief scientist Prof Ian Crute at the UK's Potato Council's West Midlands Potato Day on June 8.
Closing the yield gap by translating science into practice is the only way forward, he said at the event, held at Weston-under-Lizard in Staffordshire.
Potatoes are a challenging but globally important crop, he observed, pointing out the recent interest China has taken in them as they are more productive than rice.
However, producers must monitor the sustainability of their businesses, making trade-offs between issues such as biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions, if necessary.
"There is still a yield increase to be gained from production methods," he declared. "Genetic modification (GM) potatoes are making a huge difference globally, but it is not only GM that can make a difference. In the potato we must ensure we find the most efficient way to convert solar energy into food."