TRADE AND MARKE T ING This ‘peasant’s potato’ is going to replace the Bintje according to De Visser. Besides the relative earliness, the variety has beautifully-long tubers and stores really well. ‘By being able to offer our growers a mix of late and early varieties, they can manage their farm businesses with visible effect. The trend towards scale expansion means that it takes longer to get your crop in the store. A mix of early and late varieties is the solution here.’ HZPC: the year of which potato? In this ‘Year of the Potato’, all three floors of the building in the village of Joure are loaded with varieties for a wide range of destinations. ‘Buyers are increasingly demanding more from the potato’, acknowledges Jan Hoogenboom from the Frisian company. ‘Varieties have to be perfect for the farmer, the processor, the supermarket and the consumer. Moreover, a further development is that the contents of the potato are being examined more and more. This includes the increasing importance of the potato’s nutritional value and taste. In addition, trends such as health, ease, enjoyment and behaviour properties remain important items. For us, it is an interesting challenge to gear towards this enormous variety in characteristics when developing varieties’, Hoogenboom emphasises. we changed our focus on breeding eight years ago towards varieties that give a stable result and can always be harvested for the relevant markets. That is why we carry out a great deal of research into the stress tolerance of the varieties. A sure harvest, that’s what our growers and buyers want most.’ Muijsers illustrates that the market can change rapidly with an example from the table potato market. ‘Today’s consumer seems to prefer the bigger quantities again, rather than those small, exclusive bags of table potatoes. Introducing an exclusive variety is also rather difficult at the moment. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have such a variety in our product range. The CMK2001-069-056 produces mor than 1 million tubers per hectare in the 28-40 millimetre size. A variety can present itself in the special potato market by its special taste. But not yet today.’ What Meijer is doing is offering a wide range. ‘We are looking for opportunities in every market segment’, explains Muijsers. ‘An example is the chip market. With the Olympia variety, which has proven its value in the market, complemented by the yellowfleshed Amarilla and the white-fleshed Lady Blanca, we have the entire spectrum in our product range. It’s up to the customer now to decide which varieties he likes best. At any rate, our varieties are better-adapted to the changing growing conditions.’ To be able to introduce improved varieties even quicker, Meijer is investing in the latest techniques. For that purpose, large, new buildings are being completed at this very moment at the breeding station in Rilland. Modern greenhouses are being constructed that meet all the current requirements, and a large laboratory in which marker technology can be carried out. ‘All these things are necessary to be able to continue to introduce new varieties in the future’, says Muijsers in conclusion. ● Jaap Delleman Meijer invests in new breeding technology It is getting dark when we arrive at Meijer’s variety presentation in Swifterbant on the last day of the week. Managing director Jan Muijsers explains that breeding needs to produce for the market of the future. ‘However, the market of the future is not easy to determine’, is his view. ‘For this reason Jan Muijsers (l): “Certainty of a good harvest, that’s what our growers and our buyers want most, is our view.” Potato World 2009 • number 1 17 Pagina 16

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