Dutch organic sector unites for more disease resistant organic potato varieties

On Tuesday, August 8th, 25 organic potato breeders, farmers organizations  and retailers signed the covenant 'Accelerated transition to robust potato varieties'. 

With this covenant, the organic sector wants to give a sustainable answer to the most devastating potato disease: Phytophthora. Bionext, the Dutch umbrella organization for the organic sector, has taken the initiative for this.

The primary reason for this agreement is the large-scale damage this disease caused in 2016 to organic potato cultivation. Potatoes are susceptible to Phytophthora, and natural pesticides for this disease are not available for Dutch organic growers. It is necessary to increase the availability of resistant varieties to prevent a new disaster. In order to speed up this process, the covenant partners have agreed to give these robust varieties priority in breeding, in seed production, in production area and in sales promotion. In this way it is intended to scale up, step by step, to 100% of robust organic potatoes by 2020.

Disease-resistant varieties by cooperation

At the moment, there are six resistant potato varieties available on shop shelves. This number will grow to probably 10 to 12 varieties in the next few years. By 2020 there will be a wide range of robust organic potatoes available for consumers in the various supermarkets and organic stores. Bionext will monitor the progress on an annual basis.

Bavo van den Idsert, director of Bionext: "We are proud that we could get all the parties on the same page. This is a good example of cooperation in the supply chain. With this covenant, the organic potato sector takes the lead in making the potato farming more sustainable."

The covenant partners

Bionext, the Dutch chain organisation for organic agriculture and food and its members Biohuis, BioNederland and the Organic shop association.

The retail: Albert Heijn, Jumbo Supermarkets, Ekoplaza/Udea, Natural Stores/Natudis,

Estafette Odin B.V.

The organizations for the organic farmers: Bdeko, Biowad, Association of Organic Farmers South West, Nedato cooperative, Dutch Organic Potato Pool.

The organic potato breeders: Agrico, HZPC, C. Meijer B.V., Plantera B.V., Den Hartigh, Europlant, Danespo, Caithness Potatoes B.V., Fam Vos, Carel Bouma organic potatoes B.V. and Plantum (the. Dutch association for the plant reproduction material sector)