In the Netherlands, 7 supermarkets sign up for 100% robust potatoes in an organic range

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  • In the Netherlands, 7 supermarkets sign up for 100% robust potatoes in an organic range
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7 supermarkets sign up for 100% robust potatoes in an organic range
november 19, 2022
In the Netherlands, 31 parties in the table potato chain signed a covenant in which they commit to switch completely to organic robust potato varieties. Instead of regular varieties, 7 supermarkets will offer robust potato varieties that are resistant to late blight Phytophthora, which can cause major damage in wet summers.

With the transition to 30 new robust varieties, the farmer is protected against this financial risk. The new potatoes are not more expensive and may even be cheaper in the long term if this leads to a more stable harvest.

7 retailers, including Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Aldi, Lidl, Ekoplaza, Odin and Superunie, are committing to the promotion and sale of the robust potato varieties, with the aim of offering only robust potatoes in the organic range within five years.

They also ask suppliers to opt for the robust varieties for processed potato products, such as chips, fries and potato slices. In addition to retailers, 7 parties that supply supermarkets, 11 breeding companies and 6 growers' associations also sign.

The robust varieties that will replace them are even less well known, but no less of quality. Due to the wide range of robust varieties, there is plenty of choice in taste, color and structure. The potatoes are not more expensive and may even be cheaper in the long term if this leads to more stable yields.

2016 was an intense Phytophthora year, in which many organic farmers saw their yields decrease from about 40 tons to 22 tons on average. A huge financial setback. Without the transition to robust varieties, farmers therefore run the risk of a 30-50% reduction in their yields.

The complete transition is not only good news for organic farmers, but also for the conventional sector. By choosing these varieties, farmers can reduce their pesticide use by 50%. The use of copper that was previously used to suppress Phytophthora no longer needs to be used. Copper is bad for soil life.

Michaël Wilde, director of Bionext:
 
"It was about time for this step. In recent years, the sector has invested heavily in the development of resistant potato varieties, which is why we can now fully switch to robust cultivation. This also means that it is now the consumer's turn. They can support the farmer by opting for an organic potato."
According to the RIVM, they in the Netherlands eat an average of 72 grams of potato per day, which is about 26.3 kg per year. Every year we consume about 454 million kg of potatoes in the Netherlands. The potato is still one of the most important crops in Dutch arable farming.

In 2020 there were 9,300 conventional potato growers, 262 of which were organic. The Netherlands has 163,500 hectares of potato cultivation, of which 1.25% is organic, about 2,054 hectares (CBS, 2020). Good for more than 70,000 tons of organic potatoes, which can supply 14% of the Dutch market.
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