TRADE AND MARKET I NG Table potatoes dominate the Chilean market Today, Cea finds this bulk shed too small and, because of the many small cells difficult to fill and empty. A few hundred metres away in the yard there are new, much higher sheds in which boxes can easily be stacked 5-high. Two new storehouses are nearing completion and should be operational during this storage season. Satisfied, Porte shows the four Tolsma storage units here that will be installed in the new storehouse in the next few weeks. Need for chip-processing industry Consorcio Papa Chile in Osornono is an organisation that wants to further improve the cultivation and marketing of potatoes in Chile and internationally. This consortium, established seven years ago, offers technical support in order to make Chilean potato cultivation more competitive. Managing Director Luis Miquel, and Commercial Director Jaime Rios, whom we meet en route, report that Chile is currently at a crossroads. They hope that the growers will take the course towards a professional future and will acquire further skills in the cultivation and storage of potatoes. ‘In order to further professionalise the sector, it’s important that a chip-processing industry comes to Chile’, Miquel emphasises. ‘To achieve this, we must ensure that the cost price of potatoes is reduced. This is to make it as interesting as possible for establishing a processing industry. If that doesn’t happen, Chile will remain at its current level’, Miquel thinks. In the past, a French-fry factory called Unisur, previously owned by the American processor Simplot, was active. Now, there’s only a PepsiCo French-fry factory active in Santiago. Miquel also points out that there’s a lot of black-market trade in the table potato market. Traders from the wholesale market in Santiago travel to the south and buy table potatoes directly from the smaller growers and pay cash. This year, producer prices are 100 pesos per kilogram, about 14 eurocents per kilogram ‘This trade ensures that 5 percent goes through official channels. The market traders in Santiago often bargain ‘under the table’. This doesn’t help to develop the sector further. We must ensure that we organise the ‘tracking-and-tracing’ better. At present, not all growers start growing their consumption potato crop with certified seed potatoes that have been certified by the official seed potato agency SAG. It’s not yet mandatory at the moment to certify your own seed potatoes. After a difficult year with low prices, consumption potato growers are picking the small potatoes out of the lots and planting them again in the following year. As a result, the crops of small growers can become a source of infection for the large growers who use certified seed. The fact that not everyone is yet using certified seed puts the entire Chilean cultivation under pressure’, Miquel points out. ‘That’s why we’re calling for total certification in the cultivation of seed potatoes. An increase in professional table potato growers with a quality product will ensure the demand from the market can also be met more reliably and sustainably’, Miquel explains. The couple are convinced that Chile has this growth potential. ‘A few years ago, the world’s best sugar beet producer came from Chile’, with this Miquel points out that it’s not because of the growing conditions that the cost price of local potatoes is still not lower. Stable crisps market Given that, because of the logistics, crisps manufacturers always have to produce close to their end market, there’s already a market for crisps potatoes in Chile. One of the companies specialising in this particular branch is Agricola el Parque in Purranque. Andrés Vargas Teuber, owner of the company, says that he’s farming a total of 1,500 hectares. ‘Because our customer, PepsiCo, is asking for registered cultivation, professional growers must also grow the preceding crop to ensure that the wrong crop protection chemicals haven’t been used, for example. That’s why he also grows rye, wheat, maize and table potatoes. Vargas further says that, since 1995, he’s been growing potatoes in the south of Chile. In the early days, the entire crop was still grown manually. In 2004, Mexport set up the first part of the storage facility for the Chilean company. Vargas was Francisco Edwards and Rodrigo Cea Abarzúa expect the Chilean table potato market to become more professional in the coming years. Luis Miquel (l) and Jaime Rios of the Consorcio Papa Chile in Osorno know that not everyone is using certified seed yet, putting the entire Chilean production under pressure. 20 Potato World 2018 • number 1 Pagina 19

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