In the Netherlands, Aldi and Lidl recently signed a covenant titled ‘Accelerated transition towards resistant/robust potato varieties’. Signees also include Albert Heijn and Jumbo Supermarkets. Superunie, the purchasing organization representing thirteen independent supermarket organizations in the Netherlands, intends to sign the covenant shortly. Potato seed companies who signed the covenant include Agrico, HZPC, C. Meijer, Plantera, Den Hartigh, Europlant, Danespo, Caithness Potatoes and Plantum. With this agreement, the biological sector wants to provide a sustainable response to the feared potato disease, late blight.
During the growing season in 2016, late blight caused severe damage to the organic potato farming sector in the Netherlands. Potatoes are sensitive to phytophthora and good natural pesticides are few and far between to help organic farmers to deal with late blight. Bionext, a leader of the organic sector, took the initiative to gather together important parties involved in the cultivation of seed potatoes and trade of organic potatoes in order to find a sustainable solution for the late blight problem in potato cultivation. (Full report in the Dutch language)