Almost 500 guests from more than 15 countries and around 200 companies and institutions took part in the 16th edition of the International Berlin Potato Evening. In addition to the regular regular guests, many new and especially young participants found their way to the ballroom of the Hilton Berlin to enjoy an evening dedicated entirely to the potato industry in a great atmosphere.
In his opening speech, DKHV President Thomas Herkenrath outlined the diverse challenges currently facing the potato industry. The market is no longer determined by supply and demand alone. Extreme weather conditions, regulatory measures of the legislator, secondary standards of the food retail trade as well as demands of the NGOs and the constantly changing lifestyle of consumers are now having a major impact on market events.
The Potato Queen of Lower Saxony, Katarina Landgraf (CDU member of the Bundestag), DKHV President Thomas Herkenrath, the Bavarian Potato Queen and UNIKA Chairman Olaf Feuerborn.
Difficult conditions for cultivation and storage
For example, the loss of important plant protection products and the lack of or less effective alternatives to them will have a strong impact on the potato industry and lead to more difficult conditions for cultivation and storage. This should not be taken lightly, Herkenrath said. The list of new challenges is endless and it is precisely the higher production and quality standards required by the legislator and in particular by the food retail trade that inevitably lead to higher production costs.
Henning Grove (Commercial Operations Manager at Groka LLC) and Klaus Eustenbrock (Land Trading Josef Eusterbrock LLC)
"Where will these developments come from?" Herkenrath asked in his opening speech. The answer obviously lies with the consumer. The desire of consumers to be able to buy healthy and sustainably produced food with a clear conscience is becoming increasingly important in their purchasing decisions. There is a great deal of uncertainty among the population and this is reinforced by the large number of media reports about supposedly harmful pesticides, residues in food and the death of insects. And here lies an important task for the potato industry: "We have to regain trust and talk to people proactively. We have already done a great deal in terms of sustainability and environmental protection," says Herkenrath, "but the demands on us are increasing."
Richard van den Dolder and his son Mark from Inverness Transport BV meet Richard Meyer (centre) from Theodor Stadtmann LLC & Co
Forced increase in production costs
At the same time, however, he also emphasised that the changed production conditions with ever higher quality requirements and production risks inevitably entail an increase in production costs. This must also be reflected on the supermarket shelves. DKHV President Herkenrath offered the media and politicians the opportunity to talk to him: "And I would like to shout out to our politicians: Talk to us! Be courageous and listen to the experts!" Katharina Landgraf, MdB and member of the Bundestag Committee for Food and Agriculture, who attended the International Berlin Potato Evening at the invitation of the DKHV, took advantage of the DKHV's offer to engage in dialogue with the industry in many discussions that evening.
Cooperative members and representatives of HNG Helle Niedersachsen in the company of packers and traders from NRW and Hesse. Fourth from the right: Christian Bausch, Managing Director of the wholesale company Kartoffel Bausch LLC.
After animated discussions, making new contacts and appointments for further talks at Fruit Logistica, for many the successful industry meeting did not end until the early morning hours.
For more information:
Deutscher Kartoffelhandelsverband e.V.
Schumannstr. 5 10117 Berlin
Tel: 030 66406851/52
Fax: 030 66406853