Potato World vision PW-ACTUA Bring potatoes to the table! Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them an essential part for much of the world’s population diets. At the European level, potatoes have an important place in the food supply with an area of 1.74 million hectare and a production of 61.5 million tonnes. This makes that the EU has a market share of 18% in the world production of potatoes. In consumption terms, potatoes are a popular product in the EU, popular with European consumers and deeply anchored in the food habits of the Union. However, fresh potatoes face nowadays two main obstacles: a long-term decrease in their consumption; and a deterioration of their image. In their search for new global experiences and culinary discoveries, consumers often look beyond the richness of the locally produced potato. This trend has led to a decrease of potato per-capita consumption among the different age groups, especially in younger households. To reverse this situation and to stimulate the consumption of fresh potatoes in the EU, Europatat has prepared together with Belgium, France and Ireland a communication programme under the EU promotion policy for agricultural products. The campaign will target consumers between 18 and 34 year-old living on their own, co-habiting or with young families, the also called millennials. The message will be clear: potatoes fit in a modern, healthy and sustainable lifestyle of millennials because of their versatility, high quality and good nutritional and health aspects. Finally, the content of the campaign will be almost exclusively published on social media, as this channel is key in the life of millennials. They spend approximately 6 hours per day online and 70% of them connect every day to a social network! With this joint action, which needs to be approved by the European Commission by the end of the year, Europatat will accomplish its vision: to bring potatoes to the table! WatchITGrow further expanded On 28 February 2019, the Belgian Farmers’ Union, Belgapom and VITO joined forces in order to further expand the WatchITGrow digital information platform. By doing so, the organisations hope to strengthen Belgium’s leading position in the cultivation and processing of potatoes. WatchITGrow is the Belgian information platform for the digital monitoring of potato fields using various data sources. Data from satellite images form the basis for this, further supplemented by, among other things, weather data, soil data and operational data about cultivation activities. WatchITGrow’s long-term goal is to improve the yields of individual potato growers and to achieve more sustainable cultivation. This is done by mapping everything that happens on and off a field as comprehensively as possible. By analysing all the data, WatchITGrow can eventually provide automated advice to individual growers. Financial bonus WatchITGrow focuses on the collection of all cultivationrelated data in one central and independent platform with guarantees for data privacy, data security and data access. To guarantee the required privacy, the technical research institute VITO has been chosen to manage these aspects. Active WatchITGrow users who submit their plot data digitally will receive a financial bonus of a minimum of 250 euros and a maximum of 750 euros per customer. With this, custo mers not only want to encourage potato growers to work more digitally, they also want to reward them for their efforts. In addition to a financial contribution for the further expansion of the WatchITGrow platform for the Belgian market, the Farmers’ Union and Belgapom will actively promote the use of the application throughout the entire potato sector. For more information: www.watchitgrow.be. ● Raquel Izquierdo de Santiago and Berta Redondo The European Potato Trade Association The long-term goal of the WatchITGrow digital platform is to improve the yields of individual potato growers and to achieve more sustainable cultivation. Potato World 2019 • number 2 11 Pagina 10

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