Dutch potato companies visit Cuba and strengthen ties with Cuban growers
From 13 to 18 March, Dutch potato seed companies visited Cuba to witness the performance of their seeds in the “Garden of Varieties” at Cuban agricultural cooperative Gispert. The visit was also used to evaluate the lessons learned in last year’s training to Cuban potato growers in Emmeloord and to strengthen the longstanding relation between Cuba and The Netherlands in potato cultivation.
After two years of postponing due to the COVID19 pandemic, representatives of Dutch seed potato companies Agrico, Agroplant, HZPC, IPM, Stet and Van Rijn visited Cuba from 13 to 18 March to witness the performance of their potato seeds in various Cuban provinces. At the end of their trip to Cuba, the representatives of the Dutch companies visited the so-called “Garden of Varieties” at the Gispert Cooperative in the city of Matanzas. Here, more than 80 producers from the six Cuban provinces where Dutch potatoes are grown came together to evaluate the performance of 54 varieties in their first test season, and another 27 varieties currently in their third test season. This year Dutch Ambassador Eric Strating also participated in the activities and was able to personally witness the performance of Dutch potato seeds in Cuba.
As was demonstrated during the visit, the Dutch seed potato companies enjoy a close relationship with the Cuban potato growers. During the week they discussed how the skills learned at the potato growers’ training held in Emmeloord in the Summer of 2022, are being applied in Cuba. As stated by HZPC’s Export Manager Enrico Bertolin: “For HZPC it is fundamental to participate in these kinds of activities. We want to keep sharing our knowledge and experience with the growers that use our potato seed varieties, in order to better understand how to better serve them and their communities. We are proud and honored to take part in the development of farming in Cuba”.
At the Garden of Varieties, experts from the Gispert Cooperative explained the criteria that are used to select the varieties most suitable to local needs. “Dutch potato seeds are solid and safe, with those seeds we know that we will have a good harvest" according to Osmani Peña, potato grower and President of the Gispert Cooperative.
The relationship between Cuba and The Netherlands in potato cultivation has been long and steady. In 2022, Cuba imported almost 11.000 tons of potato seeds imported from the, 75% of the total volume of imported potato seeds. This year the yield per hectare of the Dutch potato seeds has been remarkable, with yields of 36 tons per hectare.