TRADE AND MARKET I NG Poland on the road to EU-6 membership ers are often unable to store their potatoes, a large quantity of often inferior quality comes onto the market during the harvest period. This lowers the price of the high quality potatoes and puts pressure on the total market. As soon as the smaller growers disappear, this effect will die out’, Bien´ kowski expects. At the moment, Bien´ kowski already has a seed potato storage capacity of 15,000 tons on his farm. This means that he currently has a market share of about 15 percent of the Polish seed potato market. Jerzy Wróbel, grower and owner of the small-packaging company Agrosad, indicates that there are opportunities for local varieties in the Polish market. ‘If we want to further professionalise the cultivation process, the seed potato market will have to increase tenfold to one million tons in the coming years’. to be able to supply. This won’t be achievable in the short term in Poland, which also offers opportunities for the other European countries’, Bien´ kowski predicts. ‘Because professionalising tracking and tracing is also part of the Ministry’s plan, the collection of licence fees will also improve considerably’, expects the Polish potato entrepreneur. ‘That initially requires an extra investment in cultivation, but a better quality seed also results in a higher yield of ware potatoes. Due to the upcoming transition in cultivation, I expect that in five years’ time only the professional growers will still be active in the market. At the moment, we’re seeing a new generation taking over on the farms. The successors of generation Y and Z are often trained as managers and are open to new developments. In addition, young people travel around the world and speak their languages. This will speed up the modernisation of the sector. This is important because small growers now have a major influence on the price formation in the market. Since these growOpportunities for Polish varieties Bien´ kowski works on his farm together with a large number of breeding companies at home and abroad, but he also grows old western-European varieties and local Polish varieties. ‘What we see is that the Polish consumers still recognise the value of the old varieties in the region. That’s why we also want to set up an in-vitro programme for these varieties in order to have high-quality seed available. The next step is to set up an export programme for free varieties such as Bintje, Spunta, Asterix and Saturna to countries in the Middle East’, discloses Bien´ kowski. Varieties such as Atol, which had around 75 percent of the market in the 1970s, offer opportunities to develop a local variety. Jerzy Wróbel, grower and owner of the small-packagThe professional Polish table potato market is growing every year. 42 Potato World 2020 • number 1 Pagina 41

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