Fruit Logistica: supermarkets continue to aim for sustainability TRADE AND MARKET I NG ‘Potato promotion should be done collectively’ The Belgian potato supplier Warnez is one of the exhibitors at the Flemish pavilion. Although the company mainly focuses on the sale of potatoes to the retail sector in its own country, Fruit Logistica is definitely an important trade show for Warnez, says Peter van Steenkiste. ‘The packaging suppliers are here, the buyers are all walking around here. And it’s a good time to catch up with colleagues.’ Like other potato areas, Flanders is on display in its Sunday best in Berlin. Nevertheless, as far as Steenkiste is concerned, the promotion of the potato could have been done more collectively: ‘We must be more creative in the industry. The international campaign is now focusing on ‘imagine a world without potatoes’. The idea of turning the story of the potato around is very good. Everyone has some special association with potatoes, whether it’s your granny’s hotchpotch or something different. That’s what we have to appeal to. As far as I’m concerned, we in Europe will soon be working on this idea together. That’s not so easy because of the language differences. But I think that everyone is able to handle this in their own way.’ The French are increasing seed potato areas Jean Yves Abgrall of seed potato organisation FN3PT is himself a grower in Brittany, the smallest seed potato area of the three areas the organisation represents. Last year, the acreage of seed potatoes in France increased by more than 1,000 ha and again this year a substantial growth is expected. ‘This growth is mainly due to the French-fry varieties like Fontane and Innovator, in the north of France’, says Abgrall. ‘We’ll take the lab into the field’ ry to the field’, says Croptimal employee Carmel Porat. According to Carmel, the crux is in the large database that the company has built up, with growth curves and calculation models for all kinds of crops. A specially developed computer algorithm links the results of the meaThe Israeli company Croptimal was one of the nominees for the innovation award at Fruit Logistica. Croptimal provides a system for precise fertilisation advice based on big data and crop and soil measurements. The measuring can be done on site, thanks to a mobile spectrometer, which fits in the boot of a car. In ten minutes, the device determines not only N, P and K but also the presence of various trace elements in soil or crop samples. ‘We’re taking the laboratosurements to the other growth variables such as temperature, UV radiation and air humidity. This makes clear how many nutrients the crop still needs in the remaining growing time. Advice can be calculated anywhere on the site via the cloud. So far, the company has experience with potatoes, tomatoes, maize, avocado, almonds and marihuana. ‘Medicinal marihuana’, Porat adds. The arable farmer is looking back on an extremely wet season with a problematic harvest. Nevertheless, the French were on the market in time to supply the earliest destinations. ‘Early buyers such as Kuwait and Oman received their potatoes in September, as usual.’ Yet, according to Abgrall, the French growers are also struggling with rot problems. He’s not worried about the expansion of the acreage. There’s still enough new land in France. The only thing he’s worried about is the low price received by the consumption potato growers. ● Egbert Jonkheer Potato World 2018 • number 2 23 Pagina 22

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