The Nicaraguan company AGROEXCELL, devoted to the production of fresh potatoes for domestic consumption, decided to venture into potato seed importing in order to introduce new varieties that prove to be more competitive than the ones currently in the market. These varieties must meet two key criteria: to be highly productive and to respond to the needs of the domestic market in terms of quality, food safety and presentation.

For this reason, AGROEXCELL, in partnership with France's Comité Nord, imported a total of 18 European potato varieties, all produced in France, as the efficiency and high standards in seed production and certification systems in this European nation are held in high regard. The goal was to develop a validation process to evaluate their individual characteristics, as well as their behaviour and adaptability to the various environmental and agricultural handling conditions in the Central American sub-continent. The evaluation focused on their productive performance, resistance to pests and local illnesses and on how well received they were amongst consumers.

The 18 varieties were set up on 10 test plantations belonging to the country's three largest potato producers: Matagalpa, responsible for 50% of the country's production; Jinotega, which grows 30%; and Estelí, which produces another 20%. The varieties implemented during this year's first semester were supplied by several European firms, including GERMICOPA, Irish Potatoes Marketing (I.P.M.), Comité Nord, ETs ROUSSINEAU, Expandis FR, Triskalia, Agri Plants and Van Rijn.

The results from the first validation period were very productive, as seven varieties with a noteworthy adaptability to the country's environmental conditions were found. It also allowed for the discovery of three varieties that are suitable for agro-industrial processing. The varieties with the best environmental index were the BANBA and BURREN, of I.P.M.; FLORICE, of ETs ROUSSINEAU; ATLAS, DAIFLA and LOANE, of GERMICOPA; and the TOUAREG, of Van Rijn.

The above mentioned varieties improved by 15 to 51% the productive performance of the control variety Provento, of AGRICO; figures way above the national productive average, which is of 230 quintals per 0.70 hectares.