TRADE AND MARKET I NG There is still plenty of room for new French-fry varieties Willem in ’t Anker, C. Meijer BV, Rilland: ‘There’s a constant need for new varieties, also for French fries.’ ‘You can also ask the question differently. Why are there potato breeding companies? The answer to that is, because there’s a constant need for new varieties, also for French fries. Breeders often focus on the distant future in their work. We also do that, although it’s not always a guarantee for the envisaged result. What do you choose as a breeding goal? A long time age, we already started a breeding programme that focuses on the possible disappearance of the Chlorine IPC sprout inhibitor. Lady Anna, a cross from 2001, was the variety that resulted from this programme, among others. At the time that we had a suitable candidate, some ten years ago now, the sprout inhibitor was still in full use, which meant that there wasn’t really the need for a French-fry variety with very strong dormancy. Fortunately, the variety also had good cultivation and processing characteristics. This meant that, five years later, we already had a seed potato area of 175 hectares and the variety achieved a good position in the top 10 of the Dutch seed potato growing areas. Also, as a breeding company, you don’t bet on one horse and we always have several irons in the fire. What we currently need the most are varieties with a reliable yield. The year of drought that’s just behind us has opened our eyes to that. And as a breeding company, we’ve also had a programme for robust varieties for many years. We can go ahead immediately with this. And I’m talking about crossing results that are still numbers, but which are so popular that they’re already going to customers. A very serious contender is the CMK2010-604006. This number provides a nice, stable yield, also in dry years like last year. The tubers are long and block-shaped from which a lot of long French fries can be cut.’ Jeroen van Soesbergen, Plantera, Marknesse: ‘The fact that there are still varieties that are being trialled is an indication that there certainly is a demand.’ ‘It may be funny to put it this way, but the fact that there are still varieties being trialled is an indication that there is a demand for new varieties. The quality standards are changing, other processed products are being added with their own specific requirements. In short, the French-fry world is constantly changing. This alone asks for changes in the range of varieties. Not to mention a factor such as climate change. You ask what our role is in this. Well, not a very big one, but that’s not really necessary. For example, we’re active in the organic market with table potatoes, where we have the Vitabella as a very successful variety. Coincidentally, we recently discovered that it also makes very tasty chips. Gerard Bovée, co-owner of the company, has made it his hobby to try out all varieties in all sorts of ways and that’s how the Vitabella ended up in the fryer. That was really a surprising and tasty experience, just try them. The underwater weight of the variety is excellent for preparing home fries, the sugar content is not too high and the tubers are long and oval and can also be quite big. If you leave them to grow, you’ll quickly have a considerable percentage of 65 to 80 millimetres. And so, with the Vitabella, we suddenly have a dual-purpose variety suitable for both organic and conventional cultivation. In terms of maturity it’s early. We’re now in the process of testing with French-fry manufacturers that are active in the organic segment. And so you see that there are always opportunities for new French-fry varieties – sometimes or perhaps quite often – discovered by chance. ● Jaap Delleman and Leo Hanse Potato World 2019 • number 3 37 Pagina 36

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