South Africa: Company reaching out to collaborate with global biocontrol community on potato diseases

AgChem Africa is a South African owned and operated company that specializes in the development and manufacture of agro-chemical products for a range of agricultural crops, including potatoes. The company produces a wide range of plant nutritional products, chelated micro elements as well as other agricultural remedies. During the past few years the researchers at the company have focused their attention on the control soil-borne diseases typical to potatoes. “It is a well known fact that there is a lack of effective chemical control measures available to control soil-borne diseases,” says Freddie Denner, who is in charge of the biocontrol program at Agchem. “We are acutely aware of the serious damage caused by soil-borne diseases such as black scurf, black dot and powdery scab – to name just a few – that are found in potato fields around the world.” 

Denner points out that globally there are only a few soil fumigants available to control these diseases, and most of these have a negative impact on the soil microbial environment and does not promote sustainable crop production. “It is our observation that the focus around the world is shifting towards biological control as part of an integrated control strategy to address soil-borne disease related problems in potatoes,” Denner says. Agchem wishes to expand collaboration with other players in the biocontrol industry to address these problems in potato cultivation. “We are interested to collaborate with colleagues around the world on dedicated research in this regard, as well as testing existing biocontrol products available elsewhere to assess its suitability under South African conditions.”  Freddie Denner can be reached at freddie@agchem.co.za for further information. AgChem maintains a web site at www.agchem.co.za