This year, the Egyptian early potato harvest started one week later than last year's campaign, but the quality so far has been excellent, reports Christoph Dankers (bottom right) of Dankers Daltex Europe GmbH. The partner company of producer Daltex, based in Raesfeld, is responsible for the import and distribution of early potatoes for Germany and other European countries.
The first batches arrived in mid-February, and the harvest volume was slightly below the previous year's level. Says Dankers: "The premium segment in particular has been well received this year. The quality of German table potatoes has dropped sharply in some areas, and Egyptian early potatoes are meeting with high demand, especially in these regions. The early potato is particularly promoted and perceived by customers as an asparagus potato. At the moment, it is still a bit too cool: although the first retail chains have already switched to Egyptian early potatoes, the big changeover will not take place until around Easter or at the same time as the start of the asparagus season."
The asparagus potatoes taken are mainly the 35-50 and 35-55 varieties. In addition, they also offer small-caliber triplets, which are currently in short supply, he said.
The Egyptian early potatoes must offer a certain added value compared to the domestic product, Dankers emphasizes. "Since we are in the premium segment, our product is only accepted if the quality is right. We succeeded wonderfully this year, as the product was able to grow one to two weeks longer and thus matured more. This is reflected not only in the taste, but also in the appearance. Overall, the later harvest date benefits the quality of the produce." Despite higher production costs, prices have so far been within tolerable limits, the report adds.
Varieties grown in Egypt include Regina, Princess, Baby Lou, Isabelia, Ballerina and Charlotte
Egyptian early potatoes are usually offered until the end of May/beginning of June, after which Spanish early potatoes increasingly enter the market. During the season, competition is primarily with Israel. Dankers: "Goods from Cyprus are mainly found on the wholesale markets and have only a minor influence on the packing area. In terms of quality, we are primarily oriented toward Israel, and the Egyptians are increasingly succeeding in producing comparable qualities. Our goal is not to replace the Israeli origin, but to offer the customer a more attractive alternative. Both origins have their right to exist. What helps is that Israel enters the market comparatively a bit later, around mid-April."
Dankers Daltex Europe GmbH is generally confident about the future. "Despite investments in storage technology, it can be seen that the increasing heat and drought during the growing season means that domestic ware potatoes are physiologically older, which in turn has a certain influence on qualities during the second half of the season. This also means that there will continue to be a high demand for fresh imported potatoes of various origins, especially in the premium segment," Dankers adds.
As an internationally active import agency, Dankers Daltex Europe GmbH not only supports food retail customers in the DACH region, but also customers in the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Poland and Italy. "In Switzerland, sustainability aspects are highly valued by consumers, which is why Fairtrade potatoes are enjoying increasing popularity. As a result, more and more existing programs are being converted to Fairtrade, which is particularly beneficial to the social and environmental aspects. This monetary contribution is a piece of appreciation for the people at Daltex. We are thus able to promote social projects and make a positive impact in the long term at the origin. The advantage of this system is that the contribution goes directly to people, and they are incredibly grateful for it."
Images: Dankers Daltex Europe GmbH
Dankers Daltex Europe GmbH
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