Belgapom Offers Guidance as CIPC Ban Looms
As of the following storage season (harvest of 2020), the storage of ware potatoes will enter a new era, warns Belgapom in a recent statement. In view of the recent ban on chlorphopham (CIPC), it will not be possible for either the trade sector or the processing industry to buy potatoes from the 2020 harvest that have been treated with chlorpopham. This is why all growers are being called on urgently to no longer treat the 2020 harvest with the chemical.
The transition to the new storage regime is accompanied by a series of challenges for the entire potato sector, varying from effective germination inhibition with the aid of alternative products to a large-scale cleaning operation for storage units that have a chlorpropham past.
In cooperation with the national federations of half a dozen countries, the European Potato Processors’ Association, EUPPA, currently has several ongoing projects to gain more insight into how storage units can be cleaned effectively. For Belgium, this is being organized by Belgapom in collaboration with its member companies in the processing sector.
The test results will be shared with the European Commission to obtain a temporary MRL (maximum residue levels), a necessary instrument to avoid calamities on the basis of historical contamination. After all, exceeding the likely detection limit will lead to the destruction of the entire batch stored. So, a temporary maximum residue level (tMRL) is crucial.
In the recent statement, Belgapom also reminds industry players of the REKSIA project – which was conducted in partnership with Flanders’ Food (a strategy-based platform for the food industry), which investigated alternatives to CIPC for storing varieties that are cultivated in Belgium both for the fresh and the processing sectors. The results of this research are now available online on the Flanders’ Food website.
Additionally, Belgapom is focusing on further cooperation with all the partners in the potato chain to continue informing the growers of good practices, both concerning using alternatives and cleaning procedures for storage units.
In many cases, growers will have to invest in new technology to apply the alternative, approved substances. The Flemish government, on a proposal by Belgapom, has made additional funds available to growers for this via the VLIF Flemish agricultural investment fund.
It is clear that all storage units, just as the means of transport, will have to be cleaned very thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination of potatoes in the next few years.
“Perhaps the demand for the industrial cleaning of storage units in our country and throughout the EU in the 2020 shoulder season will increase exponentially. It is therefore advisable to make the necessary appointments for this well on time,” Belgapom said in the statement.
As of July 1, 2020, the use of CIPC will no longer be permitted in Belgium (not even as an herbicide for onions). The end date for the use of CIPC in other member states may vary, but all existing CIPC stocks in the EU should be used by October 8, 2020.