Potato Europe: underlining the importance of this essential crop
Wheat, maize and rice may be the world’s top three crops, but guess what’s at number four?
The potato is the world’s most important non-grain crop, and Europe is the world’s second-largest potato producer. That makes Potato Europe, the annual exhibition for the European potato industry, a major event in the calendar of growers and suppliers alike.
Held this year in Germany, Europe’s largest producer, the September event saw Fertiglobal join over 100 exhibitors and 8,000 visitors in flocking to Lower Saxony – Germany’s ‘potato state’ – to exchange ideas and information on current topics and new products.
“The potato’s come a long way since it was first introduced to Europe less than 500 years ago,” says Dr Matthias Griesbach, Fertiglobal’s sales director, and one of the five-strong Fertiglobal team at the two-day event.
“Besides its role as a staple crop, the potato is also agronomically significant, historically, as one of the first crops in which farmers recognised the value and importance of fertiliser.
“Today, we continue to help farmers get more from their crops through appropriate and innovative potato nutrition products. It’s great to be exhibiting at a show like Potato Europe and discussing our innovative, environmentally friendly nutrition technologies.”
Innovations in Potato Farming
Innovation was certainly a major thread running through Potato Europe 2022. This year’s event incorporated a special exhibition, Smart Potato Farming, which highlighted the role of digital technologies in current potato production – Europe is a hotbed of agritech development – and the exciting tech solutions that are just around the corner.
“We were particularly interested in some of the sensor solutions,” says Dr Griesbach, “especially those relating to spot spraying and innovative nozzle technologies, because they fit with our own Fertiglobal philosophy about resource-use efficiency and farm productivity.
“We must reduce our use of plant protection products and improve fertiliser efficiency,” he says. “On-farm labour is also a well-recognised problem for many producers. Good, reliable technology can provide the industry with viable solutions to these challenges.”
Potato Europe is an annual event, rotating between Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. With visitors from more than 65 countries in attendance, it reaches far beyond a purely European audience: attendees from North Africa, North and South America, and Asia – key regions for Fertiglobal – also come to the exhibition to keep abreast of industry trends.
Visitors commonly cite information on new varieties, cultivation and agronomy methods, and on-site demonstrations of equipment as the main reasons to visit the event in person.
“Potato Europe is a key showcase for technological leaps in potato production,” says the event’s supervisory board, “making this event important not only for potato growers but also the entire value chain. The key solutions to current problems from operational practice are usually always presented here.”
Potato Europe 2023
If you didn’t manage to make it to the 2022 event, put these dates in your diary: 6-7 September 2023, near Tournai, Belgium. We’ll look forward to meeting you!