Thursday, 19 July 2018

 

PotatoEurope takes place near Hanover, Germany, September 13-14, expecting 184 exhibitors from 13 countries and over 10,000 visitors from all over the world.  

PotatoEurope 2018, the event for the international potato industry, is held in Germany every four years. The trade fair, organized by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) in cooperation with the German Potato Industry Union (UNIKA), will again take place at Rittergut Bockerode Estate in Springe-Mittelrode, near Hanover.

"We are very pleased that 184 exhibitors from 13 countries have registered so far, which is about 10 percent more than at this stage in 2014," said Peter Grothues, managing director of the DLG exhibitions department. "All well-known companies in the fields of potato breeding, fertilization, crop protection, and technology for production and processing will join with representatives from the potato trade to provide a unique information service for everyone involved in the sector on the 35-hectare exhibition site.”

Grothues added that the high level of international participation at PotatoEurope 2018 was particularly pleasing. “More than 70 exhibitors, about 40%, are attending from outside Germany,” he said. “With 38 companies registered, the Netherlands is well represented, but there will be organizations from other European countries, and also from China and New Zealand. This excellent registration result confirms the status of this special event as the international meeting place of the entire potato industry in 2018.

Ideas, impulses and innovations

PotatoEurope 2018 will be the international information platform for the potato value chain, such as potato growers, equipment manufacturers, consultants and traders. The event is expected to set important accents for modern potato production and processing. Under the theme "Ideas, Impulses and Innovations", for example, potato growers will find first-hand information for the production of high-quality products. In addition, they will receive an important impetus to promote the position of the potato among consumers and to open up new sales potential. Current market knowledge is vital for those involved in the industry as potato cultivation is characterized by a high level of production, processing and marketing; producers of food and processing potatoes move in free markets, so supply and demand alone determine competitiveness.

A special event focusing on the entire potato sector, PotatoEurope 2018 features exhibition stands outside and in tents, machinery demonstrations and experimental plots. Current varieties will be seen growing, as well as trials showing differentiated fertilizer and crop protection strategies, and this will provide farmers with important recommendations for future potato cultivation.

A highlight of this year's PotatoEurope will be the machinery demonstrations. More than 25 hectares is being provided for a variety of different live demonstrations including the latest techniques and procedures for planting potatoes, tuber conservation, harvesting performance and potato handling and loading equipment.

Meeting point for organic potatoes 

In cooperation with the KÖN (Competence Center Ökolandbau Niedersachsen GmbH), the DLG is preparing a special "Organic Potatoes Meeting Point" at PotatoEurope 2018. In this special feature, manufacturers of technology, service providers, associations and organizations will present a broad spectrum of information related to the successful cultivation and marketing of organic potatoes.

The potato industry – Potential and challenges

In Germany, potato cultivation takes place on more than 29,000 farms with a combined area of about 250,000 hectares. The total includes approximately 20,000 small producers with less than five hectares of potato cultivation, with the remaining 9,000 farms growing larger areas of the crop. On average, Germany producers 10 to 11 million tons of potatoes annually, making it the largest potato producer in the European Union (EU), according to the Deputy Chairman of the German potato industry union (Union der Deutschen Kartoffelwirtschaft e.V. – UNIKA), Dr. Heinrich Böhm.

This sector generates an estimated value added return of more than EUR3bn each year through sales of three main income streams: food, industrial and seed potatoes. These dimensions underline the importance of the potato sector in Germany – and the industry’s important position the EU – yet, on average, the German potato crop only accounts for about two percent of the country’s farmland.

“The challenges facing the industry include preserving the value and diversity of the potato as a food in the consciousness of society. Hopes for positive developments on the demand side were realized in 2017 when an increase in consumption reversed the declining trend for the first time in many years. This needs to be expanded at all levels, whether through a strict quality program or attractive marketing and communication concepts. The scope for promotion is large , considering the potato has high nutritional content and are water efficient,” Dr. Böhm says.

Another example is the steady development in quality assurance and traceability. Since 2004, UNIKA has been a founding shareholder of Fruit, Vegetable and Potato committee of Germany’s QS quality assurance scheme, and their common goal is to find practicable answers to specific questions in order to be able to offer high-quality food reliably and safely along the production chain. About 32,000 system partners, including more than 3,300 from the potato sector, are located along the Fruit, Vegetables and Potatoes QS chain, Dr. Böhm adds.

Also important to the sector is constructive dialogue with food retailers. The requirement profiles of potato buyers are becoming more and more detailed; they now go beyond the usual industry norms, and can include certification for quality specifications such as form and inputs. In addition, answers to societal demands regarding sustainability and resource efficiency must be developed. Before these numerous tasks, however, it must not be overlooked that potato cultivation also depends on the availability of suitable plant-protection products to prevent resistance and allow production of high-quality products. These measures can also be used to counteract yield and storage losses, according to Dr. Böhm. 

Related articles: 

Tolsma-Grisnich Is Nominated for PotatoEurope Innovation Award 

PotatoEurope 2017: “Potatoes Feed and Meet the World” 

A New Theme for PotatoEurope: “Potatoes Feed and Meet the World”   



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