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Just Potatoes

January 2024

Clean cultivation is quite diverse. It has to do with precise fertilisation, hygiene measures, aiming for fewer losses, solar panels, etc. These are all subjects that are discussed in detail in this issue of Potato World Magazine.

But clean is also sustainable. With the current free potato prices in Europe, developments in this domain are not really moving forward. Nature is capricious, we all know that. However, growing potatoes without knowing their destination isn’t that completely out dated these days, many are wondering. Because, after all, you can’t keep on crop farming when the price is 1 euro per 100 kilos. Hopefully, we’ll sell all the potatoes and maybe these low prices will contribute to finding new markets. Many faraway areas are currently showing a lot of interest in European French fries, as was also apparent at the trend-setting trade fair PotatoEurope in the German village of Bockerode. If the consumer is at least happy about the quality, there may be a clean basis for the future.

The latter was also a key point in the address the new Chairman of the Management Board of Wageningen University, Professor Louise Fresco, gave during the Potato Demonstration Day. ‘On the one hand, we need to pursue the approach towards the consumer and, on the other, to reinforce the social and international areas of strength, was her message. Nothing new for her, because she’s been calling food ‘our most intimate way of dealing with nature, because we’re literally eating nature’ in her fascinating TV series Frescos Paradise and in her many books. The fact that people are careless with food, that they waste it and don’t know where it comes from, is completely against the ambition to strive for a sustainable world, according to the professor.

I hope that, with her experience – in combination with a wide and critical view of the world, Fresco can also take the potato sector a step further. The coming years will need a great deal of creativity to keep the necessary research moving forward. As far as potato consumption is concerned, Western Europe needs a wind of change in order to turn the drop in consumption into a rise. My advice: enlighten the consumer about the origins of the potato and describe everything that you can do with it. And this is exactly what you can read in our comprehensive cookery book: ‘Just Potatoes’.


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