KWS POTATO B.V.: new breeding station in the Netherlands starts official operation
On the 10th of September, the new breeding station of KWS POTATO B.V., located in the Dutch village of Nagele near Emmeloord, has been put into official operation. The KWS Group has invested more than EUR 12 million for the project. This extension of the trial area plus the investment for new research facilities clearly indicate that the company is banking on additional growth in the seed potato business. One day before the Potato Europe exhibition, KWS inaugurated the station with more than 200 guests and employees.
Located in the Noordoostpolder, the small village of Nagele is about to become the KWS center for seed potatoes. From Nagele, the Dutch subsidiary KWS POTATO B.V. will coordinate and further develop all global activities for this business. KWS POTATO breeding, production and sales will now be consolidated at this facility. During the one year construction period, a hall covering 2,000 square meters, equipped with cooling and air conditioning rooms, basic laboratories as well as an office building have been built and trial sites established on a farming area covering 96 hectares. A greenhouse covering an area of about 2,200 square meters will be built before spring 2014 to complete the infrastructure.
Global research network
The new breeding station is an important part of the global KWS research network. It offers sufficient areas for trial fields for all crops of the KWS portfolio such as sugarbeet, corn and cereals. “Our focus in Nagele will however clearly be on potatoes“, emphasizes Heike Draisbach, Managing Director at KWS POTATO. "As recently announced, we will focus on developing products for the globally growing processing sector as well as the traditional export markets.”
Transfer of know-how
Potato breeding, which has been part of the KWS product portfolio since the 1920s, has recently been strategically re-aligned. “For potato breeding, we are banking on the transfer of our know-how from other crops. State-of-the-art breeding tools such as molecular technologies, new breeding methodologies and tissue culture are not widely used today in potato breeding”, Peter Hofmann, Head of the Sugarbeet and Potato Division at KWS, explains. “We want to become a technology leader in the potato world on long-term. The breeding station is one key element in this process”, so Hofmann. The Chairman of NAO and President of Europatat, Kees van Arendonk, states: “New varieties of potatoes are the best guarantee for a dynamic and healthy market, for constant growth of global potato production, as well as for a fast growth in the potato-processing industry.”
Sustainable and efficient production
“Plant seeding is a vital contribution to the sustainable development of agriculture. The constantly enhanced genetic potential is a key precondition for the fact that the global agricultural production has for decades been growing in parallel to the demand“, Philip von dem Bussche, CEO of KWS SAAT AG, emphasized. “Using the new breeding station in Nagele, we are now able to speed up the development of new varieties, to further optimize processes and to sustainably and efficiently produce top-quality seed potatoes“.