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Marmocchi Angiolino chooses Actrice from Agroplant

Potato producers are shifting towards early varieties

By examining the data published in the past few days, it is possible to see how the Italian production trend is shifting towards the earlier varieties. "80% of the produce is now of the early varieties because all production areas are affected by high temperatures doing sowing, so there are drought problems meaning that additional irrigation is necessary (and therefore costs are higher). There are also more problems due to aphids. The more a variety is late, the more there might be problems while it grows," explains Alberto Roncagli, sales manager for Marmocchi Angiolino.

"The Italian market does not require the same varietal diversification expected in Northern Europe. They want different potatoes to make mash, chips, roast potatoes and so on, whereas here the most popular are generic "multi-purpose" ones. Except for potatoes to make chips, the Italian market uses medium potatoes. In addition, we must say that potatoes also have to compete with other types of vegetables, something that does not occur abroad."

Actrice potatoes.

In order to choose which varieties to sow, Roncagli and Marmocchi work with Agroplant, a Dutch seed company which has intensified its breeding activities lately with "excellent results." 

Actrice potatoes in a Marmocchi crate. 

Marmocchi has chosen the Actrice early variety for its cultivation areas in southern Italy. "It has the perfect characteristics for our market - early cycle and a dry matter content between 18 and 18.5%. Yields are good and grades are homogeneous. In addition, it can be stocked for long periods without the need for anti-spudding treatments."

A visit to southern Italy to discover Actrice potatoes.

The variety has also been introduced in southern Italy as "we were worried about the lack of organisation in that area. Potatoes were, and sometimes still are, considered a product to fill gaps between cycles. Thanks to our varietal selection and the Actrice variety, things are changing. Producers in the Polignano a Mare area (Apulia) only used to grow the Spunta variety, which did not have a great quality. Four years ago we tested 7 quintals of Actrice seeds and this year 200 tons of potatoes have grown."

Actrice potatoes in southern Italy.

Marmocchi also sows another Agroplant variety - Picobello. "It develops slightly later, has a smooth skin and a dry matter content of over 18.5%."

"We are specialising in high-quality potatoes though, at the same time, we are trying not to flood the market. We could sow double what we do now, but prefer being able to follow the life of the plants and provide producers with technical information. It would be difficult to do so with larger volumes."

A visit to southern Italy to discover the Actrice variety.

In the meantime, as sowing is carried out in the Bologna area, Agroplant and Marmocchi continue with their research. "We have set up trial fields and test around thirty new varieties each year. At the moment, we are assessing a red-skinned potato which will be ready for the 2017 season. It is a semi-early variety with a regular shape, a dry matter content of 19.5-20%, red skin and yellow flesh. It is suitable for all uses but is ideal for salads."

Marmocchi Angiolino S.r.l.
Via Fascinata 105
Santa Maria Codifiume (FE) - Italia
Tel.: (+39) 0532 857070
Fax: (+39) 0532 316721
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