Belpotato.be: Interbranch organization takes off in Belgium

Bruno Dewulf (chairman Fiwap), José Renard (general secretary FWA), Jean-Pierre van Puymbrouck (chairman Belpotato.be), Sonja De Becker (chairman Boerenbond), Steven De Cuyper (1st vice-chairman Belpotato.be), Hendrik Vandamme (chairman) ABS), Marc Van Herreweghe (president of Belgapom)

On January 20, the foundation deed of Belpotato.be was officially signed in Huldenberg. The composition of the Executive Board ensures that there are balances between growers, traders and processors, and between Dutch and French speakers.

Jean-Pierre van Puymbrouck becomes the first chairman. In the first working year, the secretariat is provided by Pierre Lebrun (Fiwap) and Kurt Cornelissen (PCA).

Belpotato.be: Interbranch organization takes off in Belgium

However, pending official establishment, the founding members have already made a List of priorities that should be addressed by Belpotato.be:

  • The most important objective of the trade association is to monitor the sustainability of the sector (ecologically, economically and socially). Belpotato.be wants to further strengthen sustainability through innovation.

  • The potato chain has enormous research and development needs in view of the rapid social developments, the complexity of the cultivation, the strict requirements as a raw material, the impact on the environment, the financial risks, ... At present there is not enough in Belgium research and development in proportion to the economic importance of the potato.

    Existing actions are also distributed among various institutions with a lack of coherence or exchanges with the needs of the chain. Belpotato.be therefore wants to strive for more resources for research and development and better alignment with the real needs of the sector and its sustainability.

  • Belgium is currently (too) dependent on foreign countries for seed potatoes provision. In recent years, the quality of the seed has regularly caused problems with regard to germination. In the event of a poor turnout, the financial impact can be significant for the producer of ware potatoes, taking into account the contractual sales obligations that he must fulfill. In this context, a development of Belgian production of certified seed in the most widely used protected varieties is desirable.

  • The trade association will oversee the contractual relationships to ensure that balanced commercial relationships between the producer and the first buyer are maintained within the supply contracts for industrial potatoes.

  • Market information will be collected and analyzed and shared with the entire chain.

  • Changing legislation sometimes causes problems for the sector. A current example is the disappearance of the recognition of germ inhibitor CIPC.

    The practical, technical, sanitary and financial consequences will after all have an impact on the entire potato chain. Belpotato.be is facing a difficult task to ensure that the transition to storage without CIPC goes as smoothly as possible without significant loss of storage capacity without loss of quality of the potatoes supplied and without affecting the margins within the sector or the competitiveness of Belgian finished products for export .

  • The trade association also wants to play a role in determining the reception conditions and the transparency of the assessment of the quality of industrial potatoes by establishing clear and unambiguous protocols.

  • Belpotato.be will also represent the sector in public and private structures whose actions and decisions directly relate to potato issues (technology, economy, environment, public health, trade, social, ...).
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