WAGENINGEN, Netherlands — Solynta and PepsiCo’s Ethiopia-based Foods Unit, Senselet Food Processing PLC (Senselet), have launched a project to introduce hybrid true potato seeds (HTPS) to Ethiopia. Hybrid breeding is the focused breeding of desirable traits like pest resistance and hardiness – improving food security and ensuring more sustainable income for farmers.
Ethiopian researchers and farmers will test the seeds, and Solynta/PepsiCo will work closely with Ethiopian authorities to establish legal frameworks for seed import, seed variety registration, and certification of hybrid seed tubers.
“Our teams will develop with farmers the best practices for Ethiopian conditions,” said Charles Miller, Solynta’s Director of Business Development. “Hybrid breeding will significantly affect crop practices, productivity, and reliance on pesticides.”
The partnership aligns with the Ethiopia-Netherlands Seed Partnership (ENSP), whose mission is to “enable the private sector in Ethiopia to deliver farming men and women high-quality seed of improved varieties much needed for food security, nutrition, and climate resilience.”
PepsiCo is the leading Ethiopian potato processing company. The announcement of its cooperation with Solynta closely follows PepsiCo’s $40 million cash injection to expand in Ethiopia. “This investment will allow us to leverage PepsiCo’s global expertise to boost the business’ potato sourcing programs, as well as its manufacturing and go-to-market capabilities,” said Chris Wijnterp, Senselet’s GM at the time of the investment announcement. “We want to help build a more sustainable food system in Ethiopia by meeting human needs while bolstering global economic and social development.”