TRADE AND MARKET I NG Poland on the road to EU-6 membership POLAND POTATO TRADE FAIR IS A MIX OF POTATOEUROPE AND THE WORLD POTATO CONGRESS The Poland Potato trade fair, which took place in Nidzica at the end of August, is a trade fair that is a mix of PotatoEurope and the World Potato Congress. Basically a great idea to bring together knowledge and practice. Except that the expected large numbers of visitors stayed at home during the exhibition days. The day before the Poland Potato trade fair, the Sail and Wind congress had been organised. This knowledge event was well attended by a big crowd. A range of national and international speakers made their appearances. For example, Berta Redondo of Europatat was present to explain the functioning of the European potato organisation to the Polish visitors. Also on behalf of Europatat Tigran Richter, who in everyday life is director of the German trading and breeding company Norika, held a fascinating statistical talk about the opportunities of the Polish market. He looked at Poland from a European perspective. Richter pointed out that Poland cultivates around 300,000 hectares of potatoes. Compared to the Netherlands, twice as large an area. The yield per hectare in Poland on average comes to about 25 tons, whereas growers in the Netherlands realise 45 tons. This offers opportunities for Polish growers to achieve their yields, is Richter’s opinion. ‘We’re talking about the EU-5, but Poland should also be included in the statistics, so that we’ll be talking about the EU-6. That time will come’, he emphasises. Looking at the number of growers, Richter observes that there are 30,000 growers in the Netherlands, compared to 375,000 in Poland. Because there are ten times as many growers and twice as much acreage, the market has a completely different structure. Professionalisation will quickly reduce the number of growers, according to Richter. Looking at seed potatoes, Richter sees that production is slowly growing. He sees that there is a seed potato crop of around 6,000 hectares as against 300,000 hectares of ware potatoes. In Germany, there are 17,341 hectares of seed potatoes as against 250,000 hectares of ware potatoes. ‘What I notice is that seed potatoes are also becoming an important focus at the Polish Ministry’, Richter notes. He predicts a worldwide export potential for Poland. Whereas the Netherlands exports 580,000 tons within the EU, Poland exports no more than 2,800 tons. Growth is possible here, because Poland has twice as many hectares. This potential also applies to export opportunities outside the EU. He also points out that most growers don’t use certified, tested and clean seed. ‘This planting stock should have been cultivated by professionals for other professionals. Of course, you can use seed for a second time via Farm Saved Seed (FSS), as laid down in European legislation. When I drive around in Poland, I see a lot of crops grown from seed that has been used many times. Poland is still using far too little certified seed. That may change, because Poland has good farmland and smart growers. To achieve progress, however, growers need to start improving the quality of their produce. This means that just focusing on producing high yields, is not what the sector needs. What’s important nowadays is delivering quality. In the international market, you compete first and foremost on quality and only then, of course, on price. In addition, Polish growers must realise that the potato is a risky crop that suffers from nature. This year, it’s very dry in southern Poland. For that reason, the potato is a financially-demanding crop. For the future, sustainable cultivation is very important. The basis for this is good quality seed. There are currently 6,000 hectares of seed potatoes in Poland, but the local market requires at least 20,000 hectares. The Polish Ministry has an important task to play here, but the sector must take action themselves. The growers them selves must seize the opportunities that are there’, says Richter. Potato knowledge at the EAPC congress Professor Jadwiga S ’ liwka, the current director of the organisation of European potato researchers EAPR, invited those present at the congress to discover the latest situation relating to potato research by attending the triennial EAPR potato congress. This event will take place from 6 to 10 July 2020 in the Polish capital Warsaw. For more information: ‘We’re talking about EU-5, but Poland should also be included in the statistics, so that we’ll be talking about the EU-6. That time will come’, emphasises Tigran Richter. Potato World 2020 • number 1 41 Pagina 40

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