TRADE AND MARKET I NG Closed potato market in Norway keeps the local potato chain afloat Early potatoes needed for all-year-round supply In order to be able to offer table potatoes in the supermarket all year round, Norway has a number of areas on the coast with a sub-climate, where early cultivation is possible. About 6 percent of the potato-growing area is reserved for early potatoes. In one of these areas in central Norway, near the town of Frosta, Tor Henrik Viken grows early potatoes. On the coast on the edge of the southern shore of the fjord above Trondheim is an early potato growing area. Viken grows 10 hectares of early potatoes here on his sandy soils. On 9 April, he planted the Solist and Juno varieties and somewhat later the Norwegian Rutt variety. He tells us that as soon as the snow is gone, the early potatoes are planted. After planting, a layer of fleece webbing is placed over the ridges and then plastic. It keeps the warmth in the ridges and protects the plants from frost. In order to control the moisture supply of the crop, irrigation is necessary. Normally, he irrigates three to four times a year with a reel installation. This year, however, that was not necessary due to the wet spring. Together with NLR advisor Jon Olav Forbord, Viken is investigating the use of drip irrigation in order to use less water in a more targeted way. In his opinion, this system also fits in better with the job. ‘It’s not easy to find workers. Drip irrigation is relatively easy to apply during planting and requires much less work during the season’’, Forbord explains. He tells us that the cost of his early potato crop is around 5,000 euros per hectare. With a yield of 20 tons of early potatoes per hectare and a price per kilogram of around 90 eurocents, cultivation is quite lucrative. Potatoes cultivated by growers in the Frosta region mainly go to the north of Norway. Locally-grown food is an important trend in the country. Viken also sees an increasing demand for baby potatoes. He Turnover of early potatoes in kilograms 100000 150000 200000 250000 300000 350000 400000 450000 500000 50000 2018 0 Aksel Berber Hassel Rutt Solist Arielle Juno 2018 2017 2016 2017 2016 focuses on the cultivation of baby potatoes with the Folva and Solist varieties, which he plants later and lifts at the end of September. His potatoes all go to the nearby growers’ cooperative Trondelag, which sells them to various supermarkets in Norway. About a hundred growers are members of this cooperative. They package 6,000 tons of potatoes annually. The Mandel variety, which is popular in Norway, is packaged all year round. The cooperative also imports potatoes from Israel, for example. Forbord says that self-marketing gives growers extra influence in the market. The increase in scale and decrease in the number of growers is continuing. In 1982 there were still a hundred growers around Frosta, now only thirty. Solist is now the most important early variety in the region. Moreover, it’s important to have several varieties to spread the risks. Locally-produced food is an important trend in the country, say Jon Olav Forbord (r) and Tor Henrik Viken. Potato World 2020 • number 1 33 Pagina 32

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