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Danespo Holland: 'No one is really 100 percent happy with the potato variety that they grow or process.'

Peter van Eerdt (standing at the right), Danespo Holland, Berltsum: 'No one is really 100 percent happy with the variety that they grow or process.'

Every year in the first full week of November, the European potato breeding and seed trading companies operating in the Netherlands present their new varieties and latest breeding results to their global customer base.

Many of these new varieties are intended to be used some day for the production of French Fries. All participants at what we here at PotatoPro call the 'Potato Variety Presentations in the Netherlands' (of doodgewoon rassenpresentaties in het Nederlands) have one or more contenders in this segment.

This raises the question:

“Is there room for all those new French-fry varieties?”
That is the question Aardappelwereld (World Potato Magazine) asked the participating companies last year. And thanks to our brand new partnership agreement with them, we can report you the answers they got in this series of articles!

Danespo Holland, Berltsumr

Peter van Eerdt, Danespo Holland, Berltsum:

“In fact, no one is really 100 percent happy with the variety that they grow or process. There's always a characteristic that needs improvement, so yes, there's always a demand for new French-fry varieties. Also in the top segment.”

“That's the way it is and that's what gives us continuous work. But sometimes you work on the improvement of a certain characteristic and then, after years of developing, it turns out that there's no interest in it for a while. You'll have to wait or you are unlucky.”

“For example, take the situation of last summer. This raises the need for French-fry varieties that can handle little water and, at the same time, provide quality and yield. We've had new varieties with these characteristics already available for some years, Cronos, for example.”

“We already showed these to the French-fry manufacturers two years ago. They didn't really have any interest in them then. Just give us Fontane, because there are plenty of those, was the reaction then.”

“That was probably the deathblow for hundreds of potential candidates that were emerging at the breeding stations at that time as possible and more robust replacements.”

Cronos is a potato variety from Danespo suitable for the fresh market and for processing of french fries

Peter van Eerdt:

“This year the interest is suddenly there and almost everything is possible. My appeal to the manufacturers is therefore: show a bit more loyalty towards both growers and variety developers. Processing isn't the only thing that benefits from continuity – cultivation and breeding benefit too.”

“As a manufacturer, don't be afraid to make a five-year arrangement to develop a new variety, for example, and, together with the breeder, take some responsibility for it. The Cronos could be an example.”

“We're developing it into a robust dual-purpose variety that's very suitable for the fresh-market French fries at home and abroad, and it’s therefore also suitable as an export variety. Last year, we saw the industry still walking away from them and the consumption potato growers got no more than 2 to 3 eurocents per kilogram.”

“This year, we're in a completely different situation and if we'd had some more of the variety we could have served the industry in a fantastic way, given the interest that now exists for the Cronos.”

Potato Variety Presentation Danespo Holland

Danespo Holland holds its presentations from November 6 to 8 at:
Beachclub Lemmer
Industriweg 2
The Netherlands