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With new platform WatchITGrow
“Increasing Belgian potato production sustainably”
On Tuesday 14 March, the introduction of web platform WatchITGrow took place. This is a cooperation between BELSPO, VITO, CRA-W and ULG and Belgapom. WatchITGrow is a new geo-information platform developed for the potato sector with, as its goal, better estimating the Belgian potato production, and sustainably increasing it. With this web tool, Belgian potato supply chains as well as the potato trade and processing organisations can quickly request data and information about the growth of different types of potatoes in a user-friendly manner.
WatchITGrow is the first platform that combines various kinds of data. By combining satellite and drone images, weather and soil data and harvest prognosis models, the potato sector can quickly and efficiently consult the right information about one or more potato plots. Because of these additional insights, people can:
- request more, and more accurate, information about the conditions of the potato plots;
- better monitor the potato crops as regards growth, state of health and development of the crops;
- map spatial variability within the plot;
- guarantee and increase harvests;
- predict the harvest date and yields during the course of the growing season;
- reduce production or quality losses.
Not just external data, but also the potato industry’s own data, such as results from samples for yield and quality determination, can be centralised in this geo-information platform. Because of this, users can simply check which part of the production area has the highest yields, for example, or whether a certain potato strain does better or worse and what the possible causes of that could be.
Frozen potato productsBelgium is the world’s largest exporter of frozen potato products. Romain Cools from Belgapom, says: “Belgian companies annually process almost 4.5 million tonnes of potatoes into chips, crisps and other products, 90 per cent of which are exported throughout the world. If the sector wants to dedicate itself to sustainable growth, we will need more and better potatoes, and we will have to get these by optimally using natural resources. But we cannot expand the agricultural area. With the help of WatchITGrow, we can better follow the potato production, and increase returns. That is how the potato supply chain, as a flagship of the Belgian agrarian-food sector, can guarantee and further expand its part as a world player in the potato industry.”
For more information: www.watchitgrow.be
Publication date: 3/16/2017
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