Venezuela to plant 153 million kilos of potatoes in 2016

Aldemaro Ortega, director of the National Federation of Vegetable and Potato Growers, stated that 9,000 tons of potato seeds would arrive in Puerto Cabello in early December. The product was inspected in the warehouses of the Canadian company Di Jennkins, which is attached to Prince Edward Island Potatoes (PEI Potatoes). The inspection was 100% successful and the quality of the input was verified.

The 9,000 tons of seeds are composed of the Atlantic, Kennebec, and Granola varieties, which are used to grow the tuber in Merida, Tachira, Lara, Aragua and Carabobo, where producers had declared an emergency for the delay of the seeds. According to Ortega, 3,000 tons of seed are of the Atlantic variety, which are used for industrial potato production; 3,000 tons of the Kennebec species, which is used for fresh consumption, and the remaining 3,000 tons are of the Granola variety, which is only planted in the Andean states.

Ortega travelled to Canada as part of a commission integrated by the Vice President of Agropatria, Maryuri Delgado, farmers, plant pathologists, and several engineers who will return to the Venezuela on Sunday November 15.

"We were able to select the best quality seed. 90% of it will be of the Elite 1, Elite 2, and Elite 3 varieties, thus fulfilling the heartfelt aspirations of the Venezuelan producers. It was a thorough process, which will conclude with the arrival of the seeds on the first days of December in Puerto Cabello," said the producer.

Ortega said he was satisfied with the process and that he was grateful that the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, chaired by Yvan Gil, had answered the sector's concerns. 

Venezuela has around 7,000 producers cultivating potatoes on more than 10,000 hectares in the five aforementioned states. Currently, potato prices have reached a record high in that market. Yields for the first half of 2016 are expected to amount to 17,000 kilos of potatoes for every hectare planted. The 9,000 tons of seeds imported are being traded at a preferential exchange rate of 6.30 Bs per dollar. 

Ortega said producers would start planting the potatoes on December 15.


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