25 February 2000

DUTCH SPUD ASSURANCE

DUTCH potato giant Agrico is to introduce a registration system for its seed and ware potatoes, in a bid to reassure buyers about production methods and pesticide use.

Company director Cees van Arendonk told Agra Europes Potato 2000 conference in Rome that such a system could be running within two years. He called on other EU potato groups to follow suit.

"People are fed up with mad cow disease, with dioxin, with brown rot and with the heavy use of chemicals. From now on it is of secondary importance what you produce; first comes how you produce it."

Tighter controls could also help wipe out most of the black market in seed potatoes, he added. It is compulsory to use inspected, controlled and certified seed in Holland. "But it is known that in big potato producing countries up to 25% of the seed is so-called black seed, taken from the ware crop," he said. &#42