THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE POTATO PRODUCTION
As an important potato supplier for retail, export, foodservice and processing industry, Nedato is aware of the importance of a healthy and sustainable product.
Low environmental burden of potato cultivation
In more and more countries in the world, the potato is embraced as a healthy vegetable to feed the population in a sustainable way. In potato cultivation, we make relatively efficient use of raw materials such as water, nitrogen and phosphate and, compared to other products, potato cultivation has a low impact on climate change, land use and energy consumption. For example, the yield per hectare is larger and less water is needed for the cultivation in comparison with products such as rice, wheat or corn. For the cultivation of 1 kilo of potatoes about 290 liters of water is needed, for a kilo of rice that is almost 2500 liters. That is why the potato is also good to grow in areas where there is a shortage of water. And that explains the increasing production in countries such as China and India and in Africa.
The Netherlands has for many years played a major role in the innovative developments to feed the growing world population in a sustainable way. And the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) shows that the Ministry wants to strengthen the international leading position of the Dutch agricultural sector with an emphasis on the use of knowledge and innovation. This in order to contribute to the approach to the world food problem.
New varieties have been and are being developed by breeding companies so that potato cultivation is also possible in difficult circumstances, such as heat, drought or on saline soil. But also varieties that are resistant to potato diseases such as phytophthora or varieties with more healthy nutrients. Breeding companies are also working hard on hybrid potatoes and potatoes from seed. Nedato has good contacts with these companies, and because of sharing knowledge we can improve the quality of the cultivation and our product.
In addition to supplying the right potato varieties for areas in Africa or Asia, sharing knowledge about cultivation, storage and processing is also of great importance. Our growers have this knowledge like no other. At the end of 2016 we were approached by Agriterra, an advisory organization that works for the professionalization of farmers in developing countries, with the question whether we want to share our knowledge. One of our council members wanted to cooperate and has been to Rwanda twice on behalf of Nedato.