The content of this blog is the foreword from the Editorial Director published in PotatoWorld magazine 2020/03.
Targeted management, that’s what many parties in the chain need this year. Due to the global Corona pandemic, the market for French-fry potatoes largely collapsed this spring and the question now is to what extent and how quickly the market will recover. In the last growing season, you sometimes saw growers with state-of-the art storage facilities and a top product of potatoes in the storehouse still running into financial difficulties. This begs the question: what effect will this have on the sector in the long run? Will the trade flows change, will the risks in the chain be shifted, will the acreage come under pressure, will organic cultivation become more popular, and will this in fact create opportunities for new varieties? These are just a few questions that can have a huge impact on the resilience of the sector. In addition, issues such as climate change will play a significant role. These topics will have a significant impact on the potato sector in the coming years. Not to mention a possible resurgence of the pandemic. In addition to the pressure on the potato market, European growers are already having to make major adjustments to their farm management operations by abolishing the haulm killer chlorpropham in potato storage and this may also happen elsewhere in the world.
In order to answer some questions, Dutch breeding companies such as HZPC and Meijer are already busy looking for new varieties. They want to use genetic markers and other modern breeding techniques to find the best varieties with good resistance to climate change, pests and diseases in order to speed up the breeding process. Once there are new varieties, it’s important to recover all the costs involved. This requires checking, which is the task of an organisation such as Breeders Trust. By means of targeted measuring using satellite images, the organisation hopes to be able to completely eliminate any unlawful business activities. If that is successful, the breeding companies will eventually receive what they rightfully earn in license income, which in turn will accelerate the development of the new varieties.
Jaap Delleman (Editorial Director of PotatoWorld magazine)
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