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Agrico introduces 4 new potato varieties in "Polish salt mine" setting

It was the Polish king Jan III Sobieski who first introduced his subjects to the potato after a visit to Vienna in the 17th century. This was the start of a love affair, which resulted in Poland becoming one of the 10 largest potato producers in the world. Together with its subsidiary Agrico Polska Sp. z.o.o., Agrico has built a strong market share in this potato country through the introduction and marketing of the Agrico-varieties. That is why this edition of the Agrico-varieties and seedling exhibition put the spotlight on Poland as well as on four new varieties which have been included in the variety register.

At the moment, Poland produces roughly 9 million tonnes of potatoes. It is typical that approximately 70 percent of the total acreage is cultivated by companies with less than 2 hectares of potatoes. The acreage is under pressure, because small farmers and 'domestic cultivators' are ceasing production. At the same time, the production per hectare is increasing as a result of up-scaling and the accompanying professionalisation.

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Agrico presents 4 new varieties in Polish salt mine entourage

It was in this dynamic market that Agrico founded Agrico Polska Sp. z.o.o. in 2006. Agrico Polska grows and markets varieties of Agrico seed potatoes cultivated in Poland. In addition, the company takes care of the import of seed potatoes from the Netherlands.

In the following years, the company grows steadily and Agrico Polska’s market share in Poland becomes larger. “The past year, our Polish subsidiary was involved at many trade fairs and potato events and in the coming year extra investments will be made to promote (new) Agrico-varieties by, among other things, setting up more trial fields across the country”, says general director Jan van Hoogen.

To remain able to meet the wishes of growers, consumers and processors in the different regions and market segments globally, variety development is of the utmost importance to Agrico. Van Hoogen: “This is how we have built a strong position in the market with the very early variety Riviera in the past three years and with Manitou we have a new trump card in our hands for the red-skinned segment. Our cultivation and research company Agrico Research B.V. and the affiliated growers have once again shown their best in these variety and seedling exhibition. With four new varieties in the variety register, Agrico can further strengthen its position and members of Agrico can continue to develop their businesses.”

Ambassador

With the new Ambassador, Agrico has a very early and Pallida-resistant (Potato Cyst Nematodes) French fries variety for the processing industry. “This variety, cultivated by Agrico research, has a relatively high dry matter content when harvested early. Moreover, growers can plant the relatively small seed potatoes with good spacing. This means they will be able to manage with less kilos of seed potatoes”, Van Hoogen explains.

Destiny

The Destiny variety was cultivated by the brothers Suelmann. Destiny is a new crisping variety with good resistances and a good yield. According to Van Hoogen, this new variety can also do well as a floury table potato, because of its good consumption qualities. In addition, the variety is suited to early destinations and countries with a second harvest.

The Evolution variety is a product of our own breeding station. This early, red-skinned, ware variety is exceptionally suitable for the Eastern European market. “Evolution has good scab and virus resistances and an equally good yield”, says Van Hoogen.

The last variety, Lusa, was cultivated by Agrico’s cultivation partner Lantmännen SW Seed, which is originally Swedish. It is a very robust red-skinned ware variety for the Mediterranean area. Van Hoogen: “The name Lusa is the old denomination for Portugal. This variety will grow under almost any circumstances and can be cultivated without too much technical knowledge.”

The new potato varieties are presented ‘underground’ at the breeding- and research station in Bant, in the relaxed Polish entourage of the Wieliczka salt mine. The mining of salt near the Polish village of Wieliczka is first recorded in 1044 and this makes it one of the oldest salt mines in the world. The mine is famous for its sculptures and is deservedly included on the World Heritage list.

In the excavated corridors and chapel, the audience was told that Agrico, after a turbulent year, has its organisation in good order. Contrary to the general trend, Agrico has managed to grow its acreage in the last year. According to Van Hoogen, Agrico never had such a strong potential in varieties, which will result in further growth.

“A positive starting point, but certainly no reason to sit back. We must continue to make an effort to strengthen Agrico’s position and its varieties in specific markets such as Poland”, Jan van Hoogen says.

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An impression of Agrico's seed potato presentation in Polish salt mine setting

Source: Agrico News
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Agrico is a Dutch farmers cooperative of over 1,300 specialist potato growers, producing in excess of one million tonnes of seed and ware potatoes per year.
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