TRADE AND MARKE T ING that of Désirée. In addition, the potato variety produces a higher yield. Besides Désirée, De Nijs also sees possibilities for replacing a big variety such as Kondor. Agroplant regards new varieties a necessity As well as the breeders of non-protected varieties, Agroplant, too, has invested in Fobek this year. ‘New varieties are necessary to keep our company viable’, explains Joris van der Lee. ‘At this moment, the ratio of free varieties: protected varieties is still 80:20. We want to expand the share of protected varieties further in the years to come. In addition to Fobek’s breeding programme, Agroplant is also collaborating with various breeders of non-protected varieties. Varieties such as Daphne, Actrice and Disco are the product of this programme. In their marketing strategy to the various areas, Agroplant likes to use the services of local agents. ‘They know the market and the habits of the people. And also important is the fact that they are often better equipped than we in the Netherlands to settle the accounts properly’, explains Van der Lee. Agroplant is after a new Spunta. ‘We have supplied approximately 10,000 tons of seed potatoes to Algeria in recent years. That country is still a real Spunta country, which is why we like to concentrate on this type of variety.’ To sell these varieties, Agroplant is still looking for new seed-potato growers. Joris van der Lee: “New varieties are necessary to keep our company viable.” Stet Holland looking for growers During the potato weeks in De Bildt, Stet Holland held a competition among the visitors to this potato show this summer. The question was how big the acreage would be in 2008 of seed potatoes of the Spunta variety approved by NAK (Dutch General Inspection Service for Agricultural Seed and Seed Potatoes). This year the acreage was 3,834.84 hectares. The reason why the Spunta is so much in demand is because Stet Holland is looking for growers who want to grow this variety. According to director Peter Ton, this does not mean that new varieties are no longer important. ‘The reason that we are now concentrating on Spunta is because we have changed our focus on the market. We are currently mostly active in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The Spunta still has an important position in these regions. We also see this variety increasing in our turnover. We can easily double our acreage of 200 hectares. This means that we also want to expand the Spunta crop in the short term. It is not good in the long term, however, to gear your policy to a free variety. This is a dead-end route, I think. On the other hand, the Spunta is still the universal cure-all, which helps new varieties get the attention of our buyers.’ The winners of the competition were the focus of attention during the variety show. The winner, Mr Smits from Oude Bildtzijl, had estimated the acreage to be 3,825 hectares. Co-organiser of the potato show in De Bildt, Piet Hoekstra estimated a total of 3,804.52. Marieke Goodijk and Siebe Stapert together arrived at 3,800 hectares. Peter Ton (m): “The Spunta is still the universal cureall, which helps new varieties get the attention of our buyers.” Zorba popular with McDonald’s According to Martin de Visser of APF Holland, the Zorba variety is the one with which his company can make the difference. ‘Having your product range include a variety approved by McDonald’s is a very strong point for us, emphasises De Visser. Besides the value of the variety, De Visser thinks that it is very important to monitor and advise the growers effectively during the entire season. ‘Because you produce goods the processing industry must be able to rely on’, he explained. ‘To carry out this monitoring properly and consistently is one of the pillars of our business.’ As far as new varieties are concerned, it is not surprising that De Visser takes us towards a new processing variety – the Konni. Martin de Visser: “The fact that your product range includes a variety approved by McDonald’s is a very strong point for us.” 16 Potato World 2009 • number 1 Pagina 15

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