Tigran Richter, Norika, Sanitz (D): ‘We’ve embedded the key concepts of sustainability and yield security in all our breeding programmes.’

Tigran Richter

‘Norika is a breeding station that’s at home in all markets. You can see this here at the exhibition, which we’re organising together with the Binst trading company in Grimbergen from Belgium. We have the entire range of potato varieties under our umbrella, French fries, crisps, table potatoes, and starch in red, yellow and purple colours. I can’t just point to one single focus. But … there are a number of common factors that currently require our full attention – and already have it – on all of these fronts. For example, there’s the all-embracing pressure on the sector for cultivation using fewer pesticides, because society no longer wants to find any trace of them in their food or in the environment. Recent examples, of course, are the ban on products such as Reglone and CIPC. Another focal point is fertilisation with the emphasis on reducing the use of nitrogen. You in the Netherlands are in the middle of that discussion, I don’t have to explain anything about that. A further common denominator is climate instability. The main question here is what answers do we have in breeding when it comes to the extremes of heat, drought and flooding? And then there’s another important factor we need to deal with, which is the cost pressure. It shouldn’t cost anything. If we, as breeders, don’t start working on all these arguments, conflicts will arise. And it’s up to us to prevent that. So what we need in all the cultivation segments is sustainable varieties with high yield certainty. We’ve embedded these two key concepts, sustainability and yield security, in all our breeding programmes. If I may give you an example, here’s the Soraya variety. A variety with a wow factor. It has pretty much all the common focal points that I mentioned. The variety needs little nitrogen, 120 kilograms per hectare is already more than enough. It’s also not very susceptible to Phytophthora, has nematode resistance Ro 1 and 4, is strong against bacterial infections, scab and Rhizoctonia. And, also not insignificant, the yield is high and the grading is uniform. So it’s a variety that gives you real value for money and therefore doesn’t increase the cost price.’

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 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here.