TRADE AND MARKET I NG Opportunities for the potato in Belarus ‘All the potato flakes we’re going to produce in the next four years have already been sold for a fixed price to a worldwide-operating customer’, Vladimir Radevich says mysteriously. the type of soil. Depending on the result of the soil sample, the agronomist splits up the nitrogen application, two thirds before planting and one third during the growing season. Due to the drought, the herbicides haven’t worked very well this year, as you can see with the big amounts of orach and thistles that tower high over the crop. This season, he has sprayed six times against Phytophthora. The haulm is normally killed at the end of August, so that the harvest can start from 1 September. It’s important here to complete the harvest before mid-September, so that the winter wheat can get back into the ground before the frosts arrive. Unpredictable potato price This year, the yield of the plot is between 50 and 60 tons per hectare, according to the agronomist. Many Western European potato growers will be jealous of that this season, he laughs. Off land, the potatoes will sell for between 10 to 12 dollar cents, as high as a WesternEuropean contract price. But the potatoes here aren’t grown on contract. The price is determined after the harvest on the basis of supply and demand. The cost price, which is without land rent because the state owns the land, is about 2,000 euros per hectare. Some of the potatoes are sold off land, but the bulk leaves from the storehouse. The country still has a lot of growers without any storage and they supply – en masse – directly off ‘The combination of small packaging and flake production offers us the opportunity to store, process and sell all our home-grown potatoes ourselves’, Radevich emphasises. land, which often causes the price to fall sharply during the months of September and October. Shamanov therefore only starts delivering storage potatoes at the end of October, but is then usually completely sold out around Christmas. ‘From October onwards, we generally get 15 dollar cents and that increases to 20 cents around Christmas. I know from experience that the price often drops after New Year. That happened again this year and the potatoes only fetched 7 cents in January. The price of potatoes is very unpredictable. My advice is: sell as quickly as possible when the price good’, the agronomist stresses. Flakes line of 150,000 tons Vladimir and daughter Christina Radevich of the Agrocenter Sula company in the town of Stolbtsy are private growers. They grow and trade in seed and table potatoes of local varieties and some of the Europlant varieties, such as Vineta, Bella Rosa, Jelly and Madeira. In addition, the family, together with business partner Vitali Sobel, invested this year in the Sula Plus company. This company has a flakes line with an annual processing capacity of 150,000 tons of potatoes. At the end of August, an ultramodern flake line from the Dutch manufacturer Tummers from the village of Hoogerheide was completed on a 9 hectare industrial estate. The project also included a box storage facility with a storage capacity of more than 24,000 tons of potatoes. The factory is currently already fully operational. ‘All the potato flakes we’re going to produce in the next four years have already been sold for a fixed price to a worldwide-operating customer’, he says mysteriously. In addition to the flake line, Radevich has been running a modern grading and packaging line for high-quality table potatoes since 2015. ‘The combination of small packaging and flake production offers us ‘In Russia, potatoes from Belarus are a premium product for which they pay 2 dollars for a bag of 2 kilograms of perfect table potatoes’, reveals Radevich. Potato World 2018 • number 4 33 Pagina 32

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