Good turnout at Avebe’s Starch Potato Day11 Jul 2019
“Is your grandchild still growing starch potatoes?”
This year Avebe is celebrating its hundredth anniversary. To mark this special occasion, the Starch Potato Day was set up on a grand scale with a company market, a mechanisation area, guided tours and lectures.
The day was officially opened by Marijke Folkers, chair of Avebe’s Supervisory Board. Growing starch potatoes is no longer what it was a hundred years ago. “Hundreds of men, women and children used to crawl over the land to harvest the potatoes. An intensive, back-breaking task. As the potato gained in popularity, the need arose to harvest the potatoes with fewer people. We made the switch from blood pressure – manual work – to oil pressure – mechanised work.” Folkers also looked ahead and sees opportunities for the farming industry. Technology in the field is constantly increasing and there are a number of new varieties and techniques that help agriculture to move ahead.
Peter-Erik Ywema, Avebe’s Director of Sustainability, gave a lecture centring on the question: “Is your grandchild still growing starch potatoes?” Ywema thinks so, but the working method must also be futureproof. “The post-war need was for productivity and efficiency. This has now become sustainability and perseverance. There has always been change, but we’re now facing challenges related to climate and biodiversity.” Avebe has integrated sustainability in its strategic course and Ywema also addressed this. “This strategy is intended to make the work we do together sustainable. We need to work with three objectives: more starch per hectare, lower carbon emissions and less pressure on the environment. I’ve committed myself to this, and I hope that you’ll join me as befits a cooperative. Thank you, also on behalf of your granddaughter,” concluded Ywema.
Other speakers, Huub Schepers and Corné Kempenaar of Wageningen University, spoke about the fight against potato diseases and precision agricultural applications in potato farming. And more than 40 companies presented themselves at the trade fair and the mechanisation area. Visitors were also informed about the latest varieties of Averis and Semagri.