After 15 years at KIT, starting as Advisor Sustainable Economic Development in 2008, and the last 4 years as Head of the Knowledge Unit, Peter Gildemacher is leaving. He will embark on a new adventure and lead the Sepia Foundation (working title; www.sepiapotato.nl) in its ambition to improve potato production by making true seed varieties available to smallholder producers in Africa.
“I really enjoyed my work at KIT. It is a globally unique place to contribute to international development through applied knowledge. I will miss the colleagues and partners with whom I have worked over the past 15 years. But I have decided to embark on a new adventure.
I see it as a major professional challenge to ensure that hybrid true potato seed technology reaches small potato farmers first because they can benefit most from it. I believe that technology can be the driving force for a sustainable reduction of the potato yield gap. The foundation’s goal is to halve the potato yield gap in Sub-Saharan Africa, which can be estimated at as much as $4 billion in lost revenue for smallholder farmers per year.
All too often breakthrough technologies reach smallholder producers last as they are considered less lucrative and harder-to-reach clients by agri-business enterprises who are marketing technical innovations. The foundation will be instrumental in making African smallholder potato farmers the frontrunners in the hybrid true potato seed revolution”.