PW-ACTUA TPC with new business premises ready for the future Thirteen years after starting up in the garage, on 30 June, The Potato Company (TPC) opened a new and modern business premises in Emmeloord, where, in addition to spacious offices and a big factory hall, it also has its own breeding laboratory. ‘We’re now growing 400 hectares of seed potatoes of our eight own varieties in the Netherlands and France. We sell these in forty countries which, in addition to 6,000 tons of free varieties, brings our annual turnover to about 20,000 tons of seed potatoes ‘, says director-owner Gaby Stet enthusiastically at the official opening. With an experienced twist, Aucke van de Werff, Mayor of the municipality of Noordoostpolder, uncorked a beautiful magnum of champagne to mark the official opening of the new building of TPC. With his glass still in his hand, Stet then tells us that, since the introduction of the Monte Carlo variety in 2010, his company has been known as a trading company with high-quality potato cyst nematode resistant varieties. ‘During the years that we worked with these varieties, we noticed that potato cyst nematode cannot be controlled. Two or three years ago, we thought we’d found the solution, but it is and remains an elusive problem. It’s also a cultivation challenge to achieve sufficient yields in addition to resistance. Our Monte Carlo, for example, is an excellent variety, but the international market for redskinned potatoes is shrinking. We have two markets for our highly-resistant Toronto variety, which is currently breaking through. The variety is high on the wish list of the processing industry. In addition to the processing market, the variety also has opportunities as an export potato for sales to Northern Africa and the Middle East. The variety is similar to a Spunta in these areas and gives the same yields, but it also has resistance and is a perfect chips potato. Potato processing is also becoming increasingly important in the Middle East. I think it’s an illusion that we’ll continue to export French fries all over the world. There’s also a lot happening locally. For us as a trading company, supplying a variety to two markets offers less risk. For this year, our entire 16 hectare yield of Toronto seed potatoes has already been sold. A successful variety in the French-fry market gives volume and the potatoes are transported by road, not by boat. That’s a very strong combination.’ Second layer in countries offers opportunities TPC currently has eight of its own varieties in its package, the Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Exquisa, Montreal, Toronto and Paris. In addition, there are two other varieties about to be registered: the Siena and the Madrid. As Stet already pointed out, the company markets the seed potatoes in forty countries. ‘In addition to large countries such as Syria with a 10 percent market share, Egypt with an approximately 4.5 percent market share and Morocco, we’re also active in a ‘If we can carry through this ambition of growth in total cultivated area and the number of our own varieties, we should be able to expand to an export of 60,000 tons of seed potatoes in five years’ time’, expects Gaby Stet. number of smaller countries such as Mali, Sudan and Angola. What you see in countries where they import lots of seed is that large clients of the importer are looking for their own varieties, because it’s mainly the importer who makes the biggest profit. This second layer offers enormous opportunities to bind a wellestablished importer to us. We also supply to a country like Israel, combined with sales in cooperation with our agent Mercian Ltd. in the U.K. We export seed potatoes and Mercian buys the consumption potatoes of our Paris and Sienna varieties, among others, for the U.K. England is a new licensed country for us. Another licenced country where we’ve found a good partner is the United States, where we’ll work with Pieper Farms LLC in Minnesota. Just like us, this is a family business with an enormous focus on marketing exclusive varieties. They grow 1,600 hectares of seed potatoes on their own farm in a completely isolated area. The reason why they want to work with us is that the North American market is changing rapidly. Traditionally, the supermarkets sell ‘whites, reds and Russets’. At this moment, the market for yellow-fleshed varieties is growing very quickly. There’s room here for new varieties and marketing concepts. In addition, the company is already exporting seed potatoes to South America, where they also like to introduce TPC varieties. This may result in a strong cooperation in combining seed potatoes with America and, in this way, we can serve the South American market better’, Stet explains. Towards 60,000 tons ‘If we can carry through this ambition of growth in total cultivated area and the number of our own varieties, we should be able to expand to an export of 60,000 tons of seed potatoes in five years’ time. We’ll still be a relatively small player, but if we can continue to fight our way into the market and have every variety grown on 50 hectares, if that’s what it’s going to take, we can make a decent living for ourselves and our growers’, says a laughing Stet. ● Potato World 2017 • number 4 13 Pagina 12

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