PW-ACTUA French-fry processor invests in Dewulf Group Jan Clarebout, owner of the Belgian French-fry company Clarebout Potatoes in Nieuwkerke, recently entered into a partnership with Dewulf of Roeselare by making a capital contribution to this full-liner machine manufacturer. With the freshly-raised capital, Dewulf wants to focus more on the customer and the digitisation of processes, as the company announces. ‘Dewulf has been a family business since its foundation and will continue to be so after the capital injection by Clarebout’, says the wellknown manufacturer of potato and carrot machinery. Hendrik Decramer and his brother-in-law Thomas Decan are currently shareholders and the owner of the Frenchfry group has now joined them. With the entry of Clarebout, the remaining shareholders in the company, members of the DewulfDecramer families, have been bought out. The remaining trio now owns 100 percent of the shares of the Dewulf Hendrik Decramer and his brother-in-law Thomas Decan (l) are currently shareholders and Jan Clarebout of the Clarebout Potatoes French-fry group, has now joined them as a third party. Group. ‘Although Jan Clarebout is a silent partner and has no ambition to deal with the daily management of Dewulf, his knowledge of the potato sector will, of course, strengthen us’, says director Decramer. The capital injection ensures stability, according to Decramer. Furthermore, Decramer mentions that the choice to work with Clarebout was well considered. ‘The values of Dewulf are: robustness, reliability and respect. As a true West-Flemish family business, we felt it was important to work together with someone who really understands us. With Jan there’s a click in terms of mentality’, is Decramer’s enthusiastic response. Clarebout is a well-known entrepreneur in the potato sector, the director explains. ‘He’s the founder of the successful Clarebout Potatoes, a company that specialises in pre-deep fried and deep-frozen potato products. Clarebout himself also reacts to his entry into the world of mechanisation. ‘Of course, I knew Dewulf and when I had the chance to join them in their wonderful story, I did so out of personal interest. You should see my contribution as a mere capital investment. Moreover, the investment in the Dewulf Group is completely separate from Clarebout Potatoes.’ Change in leadership With this sensational takeover, there has also been a change in leadership within the Dewulf Group. The Dutchman René Boeijenga, the current CEO of the company and coming from the Miedema stable, will gradually hand over to Hendrik Decramer. Boeijenga will then focus on the further integration of the Dutch branch of Dewulf (formerly Miedema) in Winsum and the Belgian head office. With its efforts, Dewulf (annual turnover 2018: 65 million euros) hopes to be able to offer an ever better and more streamlined service to its customers, the new CEO says. Boeijenga will also be responsible for optimising the process at the Winsum site. ● Now also a Robust Potato Variety Covenant in Wallonia Following the example of the Netherlands and Flanders, the Robust Potato Varieties Covenant has now also been signed in Wallonia. At the end of 2018, 37 partners from the organic potato chain, including the Walloon Minister of Agriculture René Collin, signed the covenant. Following previous initiatives in the Netherlands (August 2017, by Bionext) and Flanders (June 2018, by Bioforum), the partners from the Walloon organic potato chain to stimulate the use and development of robust potato varieties. The aim of the Robust Varieties Covenant is that by 2020, 100 percent robust varieties will be used in the organic potato chain, which means varieties that are resistant or very tolerant to Phytophthora infestans. As a result, the initiators expect to ensure fewer crop failures due to the potato blight, which again hit hard in 2016, while at the same time reducing the use of copper in organic potato cultivation. More robust varieties The signatories to the covenant, on the one hand, are potato growers, potato breeding companies, farmer breeders, packagers, processors, trade and supermarket organisations and on the other hand researchers, agricultural advisors and sector organisations from the organic and conventional agriculture sectors. The signing of the Walloon covenant, reinforced by the presence of the Walloon Minister of Agriculture René Collin, a major promoter of organic farming, was preceded by three speakers. Alice Soete, from the CRA-W research institute presented her work 12 Potato World 2019 • number 2 Pagina 11

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