Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Potato industrialisation and internationalisation in marginal areas


For food security and poverty alleviation in the global south, a challenge facing development professionals is to identify the access to and intrinsic dynamics of local communities, as well as interfaces with external resources, opportunities and markets.

With a focus on potato and major food production and the source of the rural poor’s livelihoods in marginal areas of China, this project aims to establish an international innovation base for ECRs to develop interdisciplinary and stakeholder-engaged research collaboration to address challenging issues against industrialisation (commercialisation, scaling-up, speciality, extension of value chains) and participation of small farmers. 

The project will be based upon a Potato Science & Technology Backyard (STB) established in Butuo of Sichuan, a typical county representing poor, mountainous and ethnic minority-dominated areas of China, with a partnership between the University of Nottingham (UoN), Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU), James Hutton Institute (JHI), China Agricultural University (CAU) and University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).

In particular, this project aims to:

  1. Develop an overview and international comparison on China’s potato industrial strategy and impact on poverty alleviation in its marginal areas idea since the mid-2010s.
  2. Identify key technical gaps (e.g. loss of seed potato vigour, viral and bacterial disease, pest infestations, and abiotic stresses), and suitable solutions such as potato varieties, biotechnological and molecular biology tools for breeding and seed potato physiology, AI and improved technologies.
  3. Develop a potato innovation system approach to map out key technologies (breeding, planting, pest management, storing, processing, transportation and distribution), industrial sectors (e.g. cropping, processing and servicing like rural tourism), conditions and interconnection mechanisms for potato industrialisation in different agroecological and geographic zones in Butuo, Liangshan and Sichuan.
  4. Reveal the environmental and ecological effects (e.g. carbon footprint) of different technological systems (e.g. potato production and storage methods), consumption styles, and pathways of consumers’ participation in potato industrialisation and environment protection (via water-food-economy nexus).
  5. Understand the conditions and mechanisms of potato farmers in the adoption of new technologies, cooperative development and good cases in innovation diffusion strategy and policies at different regions and levels.
  6. Explore pathways of potato industrialisation through international participation in technology transfer, potato seed breeding for overseas markets, and the share of good practices in the BRI countries.
  7. Reveal the conditions, impacts and pathways of Butuo Potato STB in innovation diffusion, entrepreneurship training, social innovation and cooperative development, systematic innovation for rural revitalisation strategy and planning, and policy.

The above aims will be addressed through a close collaboration between ECRs from all disciplinary backgrounds, mentors from all partnership institutes and industrial stakeholders. We welcome ECRs who share a vision to join us and to make a contribution via various ways, such as joint funding application, design and conducting field research in Butuo, data analysis and publications. 

ECRs: Fengjun Yan (SAU), F.M.S. Azam, Jan Jowick (UNNC), Qian Yang (UoN), Lirong Liu (University of Surrey)

Mentors: Xiyao Wang (SAU), Jonathan Snape (JHI), Gubo Qi (CAU), Bin Wu (UoN), Min Rose (UNNC)

Contacts: Fengjun YanF.M.S. Azam 

Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus

Email: ingenuitylab@nottingham.ac.uk