TRADE AND MARKET I NG Poland on the road to EU-6 membership This year, the Ministry of Agriculture in Poland has passed legislation to further professionalise Polish potato cultivation. This is intended, among other things, to eradicate the ring rot quarantine disease. The Polish Ministry also wants to improve tracking & tracing and potato promotion at home and abroad. To see what this means for the sector, together with Tomasz Bie kowski, Chairman of the new Polish Potato Federation and Director of the CN Nidzica seed potato company, we visited the Potato Poland trade fair and the seed potato area around Nidzica. T he province Warmia-Masuria, northeast of the Polish capital Warsaw, is known for its thousand lakes. The region can be mainly characterised as an agricultural area, it offers many opportunities for tourism and boasts a few small industries. ‘There is a fair amount of seed potato cultivation in the area due to the often low aphid pressure. Due to drought this year and last year, the yields were low for both years’, says Bien´ kowski on one of his seed potato plots. The dynamic entrepreneur in the Nidzica region cultivates and sells a total of 500 hectares of seed potatoes. This includes a range of varieties from several foreign trading companies as well as local Polish varieties. It’s not only the yields of seed potatoes that are low. After the 2018 dry harvest year, ware potato growers also had much lower yields. This is mainly due to a lack of water and irrigation systems. This is why the Ministry of Agriculture will be granting subsidies from this year onwards, so that growers can invest in irrigation techniques. The result is that the current ex land potato prices of around 30 eurocents per kilogram are at a high level and that, despite the approximately 8 eurocents in transport costs per kilogram from the Netherlands and Belgium, imports are already ongoing from these countries and others. Expanding the cultivation of seed potatoes Seed potato grower Agnieszka Tołłoczko in Szkotowie has also invested in irrigation this year. ‘In 2017, I took over my father’s farm, which covers a total of 1,000 hectares. And that’s also the year I started growing potatoes. In order to get to know the potato crop, I started by growing ware potatoes for the Polish 38 Potato World 2020 • number 1 Pagina 37

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