Project descriptionCultivating Potato Resilience: An Initiative for the Early Detection, Surveillance, and Solutions to Potato Plant Diseases

PataFEST represents the collective determination to forge a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future. By addressing emerging plant health risks, adopting proactive measures, and promoting eco-friendly solutions, the project lays the groundwork for a thriving and equitable agriculture for generations to come.

PataFEST is a groundbreaking initiative aligned with Horizon-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-02-02, focusing on emerging risks to plant health and promoting sustainable agriculture. At the heart of the PataFEST Project lies a meticulously designed roadmap, charting a comprehensive course to tackle the challenges faced by the potato industry. With the vision of a healthier and more sustainable agricultural future, the project embraces a range of innovative strategies.

Firstly, it delves into the molecular level to identify disease-resistant genes and develop precision-targeted solutions. Secondly, it adopts real-time diagnosis tools and AI algorithms for early detection and proactive protection. Thirdly, it pioneers eco-friendly practices to curb the spread of pests and diseases. The project's Integrated Pest Management strategy encompasses validation across Europe and international partners, ensuring a sustainable agricultural future.

Photo of a young potato bush in a garden bed in the countryside

Empowering Potato Industry with Transformative Impacts


Scientific Impact

PataFEST aims to advance the understanding of potato Resistance Genes (RGs) and key pests like Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) and its vector, psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (BC), through molecular and ecological analyses. It seeks to develop a sustainable disease management strategy for Zebra chip disease (ZC) without relying on harmful chemical pesticides, in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.


Economic/Technological Impact

PataFEST focuses on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, offering prevention, early detection, and surveillance methods for potato pests and postharvest diseases. The project aligns with EU agricultural research and innovation strategies and contributes to the goal of reducing chemical pesticide use.


Societal Impact

PataFEST engages citizens and farmers through citizen science activities, fostering long-term adoption of IPM practices and promoting collaborations. The project establishes an innovative multi-actor platform for knowledge sharing and engagement, maximizing outcomes in rural communities and amplifying its impact through partnerships with existing groups and projects.

Millions €

Promoting Environmental Sustainability in Agricultural Strategies

Woman working farmer

The PataFEST Project is grounded in a commitment to ecological responsibility. To this end, a set of guiding principles has been established to ensure the preservation and enhancement of our environment.

Climate-Neutral Solutions: The project prioritizes the development of plant health solutions that have minimal impact on climate dynamics. This involves the creation of products that are free from fossil-fuel-based components, thus contributing to a lower carbon footprint.

Circular Economy Integration: An essential principle of the project's ethos is to align with the circular economy framework. By adopting circularity principles within the context of plant health protection, the project aims to optimize resource utilization, minimize waste generation, and foster overall sustainability.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Enrichment: The project actively contributes to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem well-being. By enhancing the genetic diversity of potatoes cultivated on agricultural land, the initiative promotes a healthier ecological balance and supports a broader spectrum of organisms in the ecosystem.

Project Objectives

  • The project aims to develop a molecular monitoring protocol for the surveillance, detection, and control of the CLso plant pest, establish a comprehensive catalogue of mapped Resistance Genes (RGs) against CLso pest disease and soilborne postharvest pathogens, and validate these RGs within the working collection of potato accessions through field trials, bioassays, and association mapping techniques using the detected Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs).

  • The initiative aims to create cost-effective diagnostic tools for early detection of plant pests and postharvest pathogens in potato storage, utilize AI to predict disease risks due to climate change, develop sustainable solutions for pest control and postharvest disease reduction, and enhance plant health by optimizing nutrients and soil management to reduce CLso and pathogen incidence in potato crops.

  • The project involves deploying developed technologies and conducting plant bioassays trials against CLso pest disease in European and non-European environments (Ecuador), as well as validating postharvest technology and soil treatment solutions for both organic and conventional potato crops at TRL5.

  • Organizing citizen science campaigns and workshops to gather a database of information on potato pest diseases, as well as conducting webinars to enhance citizen engagement in project activities.

  • The project aims to engage the scientific and technical community, companies, and citizens/consumers throughout the potato value chain, establishing a multi-actor participatory platform for efficient dissemination of project outcomes. Additionally, the project plans to establish collaborative activities with existing projects and relevant European initiatives and platforms.

Project Workpackages

Project Progress

Pest monitoring and resistance potato varieties selection

Leader: NEIKER
Month: 1-48


Early detection and surveillance tools

Leader: IRIS
Month: 1-48


Prevention strategies based on sustainable solutions

Month: 1–48


Pest and disease management integration

Month: 12–48


Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation

Leader: KNEIA
Month: 1-48


Project Management

Month: 1-48