Early growing areas see opportunities due to the withdrawal of CIPC

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Potato trading companies in early areas such as RO.GR.AN.srl are positioning themselves as suppliers of fresh produce.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain, is what you could say when you visit farms in the early growing areas in Italy, Spain and France. Due to the withdrawal of the Chlorpropham sprout inhibitor, it has become a challenge in Northern European countries to continue to supply high quality table potatoes long into the season. Companies in early areas are positioning themselves as suppliers of fresh produce.

In Sicily, Salvatore Milana has been growing and selling organic potatoes for many years which, until now, he has mainly exported to Germany, France and Austria, where they find their way to consumers via the Aldi and Edeka stores. He harvests the potatoes, mainly of the Nicola variety, from April to June. In the ‘heel of Italy’, Francesco Roman of the RO.GR.AN.srl company in Parabita trades around 4,000 tons of early potatoes every year. Important varieties in his range are Sieglinde, Annabelle, Nicola, Altesse and Vinessa. Normally, the growers in Puglia plant their potatoes in February and harvest them from May to August. He delivers the early potatoes partly under his own Baby Bear brand, but he can also supply bags of 25 kilograms. Customers include various European wholesalers, supermarkets in Poland such as Metro and Biedronka and the German Edeka supermarket. He says he’s ready for more demand from other countries.

On the French island of Noirmoutier, some 25 growers cultivate about 11,000 tons of early potatoes. In addition to fresh potatoes, the growers have made a name for themselves with their ‘zéro rédisu de pesticides’, which means there are no residues of plant protection chemicals in their harvested produce. The harvest starts in early April and continues until July 15. In addition to the old Sirtema variety and the exclusive, early La Bonnotte, other important varieties are Lady Christl, Laurette and Annalisa. Despite the fact that Commercial Manager Valéry Brechet expects the crop to expand, he reports that he’s ready to respond to the needs of buyers in other countries.

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