TRADE AND MARKET I NG In 25 years, EUROPLANT has developed from a regional player to a multinational company The German potato trading company Europlant has been selling potato varieties for 25 years now. After’ Die Wende’, the transition period to German reunification, the group to which Europlant belongs has evolved from a regional player to a multinational with 14 subsidiaries worldwide, 104 own commercial varieties and a total potato turnover of more than 400,000 tons. I n 1992, the year in which Europlant was incorporated, Germany was in a period of change. After the’ Fall of the Berlin Wall’ on 9 November 1989, when the GDR changed from a communist republic to a parliamentary democracy, a huge agricultural area and a large market were suddenly opened up. This area was intensively cultivated by Nordkartoffel Zuchtgesellschaft GmbH, a joint interest formed in 1975 by the cooperatives Stader Saatzucht eG, Saatzucht Soltau Bergen eG, and the Vereinigten Saatzuchten Ebstorf-Rosche eG. In order to streamline the introduction of new varieties and to tackle the consumption potato trade in eastern Germany and the eastern neighbouring countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland, Nordkartoffel and the breeding company Kartoffelzucht Böhm KG (grower of the well-known Agria variety, ed.) merged to form the Böhm Nordkartoffel Agrarproduction (BNA). Because BNA focuses 100 per cent on breeding and cultivation, a little later both parent companies set up the Europlant sales organisation to sell seed and consumption potatoes in Germany and in the areas to the east. Jörg Eggers and his partner Otto Estorf were at the helm of the new Europlant, who helped develop the cultivation and trading area in the east after the Wende. In 2001, Esdorf was succeeded by Jörg Renatus who, together with Eggers, is now leading the management of Europlant. At that time, trade in the rest of the world was conducted via the Dutch cooperative Agrico in Emmeloord, the Netherlands. However, in 2002, Agrico terminated the contract with the Europlant group as a sales organisation for varieties, which was the signal for Europlant to sell new varieties around the world. Breeders are the foundation ‘The BNA organisation is based on developing new varieties. In addition to breeding varieties for the French-fry, crisps, table, starch and export potato markets, we also supply pre-base seed potatoes’, says Justus Böhm, Director of BNA. In addition to its own breeding work at breeding stations in Böhlendorf in the German Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Ebstorf in Lower Saxony and Kaltenberg in Bavaria, BNA also works together with independent German breeding companies R. Jacobs, Saatzucht Berding, Saatzucht Pohl and Mansholt breeding company BV from the village of Vierhuizen in the Netherlands. He tells us that not many consumption potatoes are grown in the area of MecklenburgWestern Pomerania, just below the HanSeatic city of Rostock, close to the coast. ‘Because of this, the disease pressure on pre-basic seed potatoes is low. Potato World 2017 • number 4 27 Pagina 26

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