TRADE AND MARKET I NG HIP is putting its money on higher potato yield in the programme. They are involved in the prioritisation of pre-competitive research and are the first to be informed of any progress. In addition, they can exchange experiences with chain partners about the direction of the research and so invest together in research for the future. By being involved in research, you know what is going on. In this way, you create a knowledge advantage that your company can benefit from,’ ‘It would be nice if, in the future, we could have a group of companies like the small packagers that focus directly on the consumer’, is the wish of Dick Hylkema (l) and Bernard de Geus. sugar transporters. In our research, we want to find markers that are responsible for the internal transport. In combination with a mathematical model still to be developed, we want to be able to optimise the growth in order to obtain more potato yield.’ DH: ‘The HIP members are directly involved in the progress of the research. We’ll also look critically at where research elsewhere and at HIP can complement each other, in order to avoid overlap. We want to be as efficient as possible with the money and not do things twice. How do you prevent fragmentation of Dutch research funding? BdG: ‘In my position as coordinator, I regularly meet with organisations such as BO Arable Farming, where research will later be carried out with money from the growers. Obviously, we must choose the research topics in close consultation, whereby practice and basic research complement each other. To ensure that research and results don’t become fragmented, we’d like to look beyond our borders and engage in collaboration. After all, it’s about the efficient use of money from the sector and from society. We have to realise though that the more money we get from outside, the less likely it is that we’ll be able to use it in the targeted way. You have to create a balance, the point is that the research is what the companies want. HIP is one of the few examples in agriculture and horticulture where private chains work together in the pre-competitive research. The government sees that the interests of the companies run parallel to those of the government. That’s HIP’s strong point. Are the results only available to the members? BdG: ‘I’ve already said, this is pre-competitive research in which we use government funding. In the first building block, the government contributes 2 euros against every euro donated by the companies. This means that the results of the research ultimately end up in the public domain. The advantage for the participating companies is that they operate together as a chain Can companies also join HIP later? DH: ‘It’s quite an achievement that these eleven companies have already found each other, but HIP is a research association and is, in principle, open to broadening the number of participants. These partners have now signed up for the first part of the programme. If companies want to join after a while, we have to discuss how that could be done. Are there already new building blocks on the programme? DH: “Certainly, we’ve already made considerable progress in drawing up a programme on the components of the potato. In order to get to the bottom of this aspect, I miss the consumeroriented companies such as the small packagers within HIP. This is an important area from which they can benefit. I’d like to invite them to join and participate in this topic. Another topic is a literature study on potato processing and enzymatic discolouration during processing and how the chain can contribute to this. In addition, we are exploring the question of soil. This broad topic could be a good opportunity for the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), the trade organisation for arable farming, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality could join in with the HIP. It’s our task to bring these organisations together if it’s functional for the topic. What’s important is the content of the research and grants are not an end in themselves.’ Where will HIP be in five years’ time? BdG: ‘It is difficult to make a concrete statement about this. I expect that a number of building blocks will have been developed and implemented by then. In addition, I expect that we’ll really be operating as an association and that companies will be meeting spontaneously, with the aim of putting results into practice quickly. DH: ‘A further deepening towards the consumer. Suppose that, in seven years’ time, we have potatoes on the shelves with distinctive components about which we can communicate. This would mean more variety on the shelf, allowing us to strengthen the consumption of fresh table potatoes. So it would be nice if, in the future, we could have a group of companies, like the small packagers, that focus directly on the consumer. ● Jaap Delleman Potato World 2018 • number 4 7 Pagina 6

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