Search is on for the perfect 'chipping' spud
Moves are underway to create the perfect 'chipping' potato, with up to 800 tonnes imported a week mainly for the fast food sector.
Irish potato varieties including the Electra and Nectar strains have become popular in markets from the UK to Egypt.
Now IPM and Teagasc are working to create new varieties that can be grown and stored here for the chipping market and replace the hundreds of tonnes imported each week.
"That's an awful lot of money going out of the country every week," said IPM's Colm McDonnell.
"With the demand for processed potato products there is a greater focus these days on developing new varieties for the french fry and crisping markets."
Denis Griffin, from Teagasc, Oak Park in Carlow, said they are working to apply the latest technology to the 'humble spud' with the aim of increasing yields per hectare.
Mr Griffin said they were also working to produce varieties which are resistant to disease and pests and are less dependent on water - now a globally diminishing resource.
Both Electra and Nectar have come through their trials and marketing phases and both IPM and Teagasc are hoping they can emulate the huge home and international success of the popular Rooster and Cara varieties which were bred at Teagasc, Carlow during the late 1960s.