Corona is forcing the potato trading houses to think about a different set-up of the traditional variety shows this year. A number of companies opt for an event online, others have decided to postpone the shows for a year. In this series on Akkerwijzer, the trading houses talk about their showpieces and challenges. Today in part 9: Den Hartigh. “A reliable potato is becoming increasingly important.”
Den Hartigh strives to cultivate varieties with added value for each segment, says Matthijs Kloek, production & logistics manager. “Added value for the grower in the form of stable yields and resistance to phytophthora and virus, and added value for the buyer who wants a potato that is reliable.” Good examples of varieties that Den Hartigh wants to go to include Connect, Gaya and King Russet, he says.
Little sensitive to drought
Connect is a mid-early to mid-late consumption variety. This organic variety, which is also suitable for conventional cultivation, gives a high yield and is strong against Phytophthora in both the foliage and the tuber, but also virus resistant, for example. “This variety not only has resistances, but can also do with less resources and fertilizer. This is becoming increasingly important and we are continuing that line in our other varieties, ”says Kloek. Furthermore, Connect is not very sensitive to drought and is therefore more up-to-date than ever, he says. “We’ve had two dry summers, that’s when these types of varieties stand out.” The consumption potato is for the Northwest European market and is also available in the Dutch supermarket.
The Gaya variety (photo) is a young variety that is being rolled out across Northwest Europe, but is also exported to Eastern Europe and countries such as Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Gaya is a medium-late consumption variety with round-oval tubers and can be used as a waxy table potato. Kloek: “This is a strong variety that does well in harsh conditions, such as drought.” King Russet is a mid-early variety of potato or chips and is A to E resistant. “This variety is on the rise and will be one of the varieties that will grow strongly in terms of acreage in the coming years. The potato has regular long-oval tubers, can be used for processing from land, but also very suitable for long storage. ”
Consequences of the corona and Brexit
Like other trading houses, Den Hartigh is also aware of the consequences of the corona pandemic for the potato sector. The export season has started nicely, earlier than usual, but we are now getting to a point in the market where we have to wait and see, also with regard to the price level, says Kloek. How 2021 will play out will largely depend on whether an effective corona vaccine will be available and how quickly we can return to a ‘normal’, he thinks. “However, we have a positive outlook on the longer term. The Netherlands is and will remain the main supplier of seed potatoes in the world. ”
Den Hartigh keeps an eye on the developments surrounding Brexit ‘with suspicion’, concludes Matthijs Kloek. “Part of the shipment of the potatoes to the United Kingdom is already taking place, in order to avoid any consequences of Brexit. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how soon the rules for export will be known after Brexit. We have no doubt that we will be able to export to the UK again in the future. But it is still unclear how quickly that will go. “