TRADE AND MARKET I NG Table potatoes dominate the Chilean market Since 1998, the cultivation of mini tubers has formed the basis of seed potato cultivation at Henríquez. For this, he has a laboratory and five greenhouses at his disposal. Producing seed potatoes for Latin America To stand out in the market, Henríquez likes to offer exclusivity. He exclusively sells varieties of Agrico (Esmee, Agata), Europlant (Red Fantasy, Red Sonia, Ramona, Marison, Regarda and Sanibelle), IPM (Tornal, Infinity, Christina) and Germicopa (Amala and Rosanna). The largest table potato variety in the area is Rodeo, a former HZPC variety, which is now free. In this segment, he also has high expectations of Red Fantasy from Europlant. In addition to seed potato production for the local market, the entrepreneur also exports to countries such as Guatemala and Brazil. He believes that seed potatoes from the southern hemisphere in Latin America can supplement imports of seed potatoes from the northern hemisphere. Henríquez is explicitly looking for collaboration in this respect. ‘During July and August, we can export optimallystored potatoes from Chile that are already out of dormancy. Growers in the other Latin American countries can plant them immediately without any germination problems’, he explains. ‘The good germinative capacity of the Chilean seed potatoes is enhanced by our mild daytime temperature combined with the cold nights. This increases the vitality of the seed’, is his experience. Since 1998, the cultivation of mini tubers has formed the basis of seed potato cultivation at Henríquez. For this, he has a laboratory and five greenhouses at his disposal. He can grow a total of 750,000 mini tubers in these greenhouses per year. Two more greenhouses will be added this year and also next year. This is to further reduce the number of crop generations. ‘Henríquez is convinced that ‘fewer field generations produce more quality’. ‘Chilean seed potato cultivation is all about the details. Everything must be good to achieve an average yield of 35 tons per hectare. This can only be done by growing and trading them in optimal condition.’ Table potato market professionalises Francisco Edwards is CEO and co-owner of former/import company Semmilas SZ. We find him in Frutillar, where his company is based. Right at the beginning of the meeting, he emphasises that the table potato market in Chile is rapidly professionalising, as a result of which the demand for high-quality seed potatoes is increasing every year. He therefore expects the table potato market to become more professional in the coming years. He bases this on developments he observes in the supermarket world. For example, he sees more and more different kinds of lettuce appearing in a range of packaging on the shelves. Bread has also shown considerable expansion and upgrading of the assortment. That’s why he foresees the same development in table potatoes, and the first developments are already visible on the shelves. Delivering quality will reorganise the market, is his belief. He does see a ceiling in the market, however. He sees that supermarket chains are asking for certified potatoes in addition to a guaranteed quality. He then expects that the seed potato market will continue this trend towards higher quality. After all, good seed potatoes are the basis for a reliable table potato crop and they reduce the growing risk considerably. Growing seed potatoes is not a cheap business in Chile. According to Edwards, the cost price per hectare of seed potatoes is over 10,000 dollars. Knowledge development over time The Semillas SZ company was set up 37 years ago by De ZPC (currently HZPC). The activities first took place in La Serena in the north. Today, however, all the potato growing, storage and grading activities take place in Frutillar in Southwestern Chile. The farm grows 390 hectares of seed of only table potato varieties. In view of the partnership with HZPC, the quality of the varieties of the Frisian company is high. In addition to Rodeo, which is a free variety nowadays, Semillas SZ also grows red-skinned varieties such as Symfonia, Cardinal, Mozart and Rosie. ‘As a basis for a healthy seed potato crop, we start with the cultivation of mini-tubers’, says director Rodrigo Cea Abarzúa. Each year, the company produces some 500,000 mini tubers, which it cultivates itself on a 7-hectare plot of land. The company also has its own laboratory for production, plants, and maintenance of the in-vitro stock material. Storage takes place in the company’s own storage facilities. A tour of the business shows the ongoing development of knowledge over time. The first shed we come across was the best shed that a grower could have in the 1970s. Potato World 2018 • number 1 19 Pagina 18

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