NEIKER transfers its potatoes, ‘Edurne’ and ‘Beltza’, to the cooperative UDAPA

5 December 2022

NEIKER transfers its potatoes, ‘Edurne’ and ‘Beltza’, to the cooperative UDAPA

  • The technology center and the cooperative UDAPA sign an agreement for the transfer of both potato varieties obtained by NEIKER
  • The alliance is based on the planting, production and commercialization of these tubers by the cooperative from Alava, and will be in force until 2032
  • Collaboration between technology centers and companies in the food sector is key to sharing knowledge and developing new solutions that respond to market demands

NEIKER technology center, member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), and the Alava cooperative UDAPA have signed a transfer agreement until 2032, through which the cooperative will be able to carry out the planting, seed and ware potato production, as well as the commercialization of the new potato varieties Beltza and Edurne, obtained by NEIKER.

As Leire Barañano, director of NEIKER, explained during the signing ceremony, “this collaboration is of great value since alliances between technology centers and the agri-food sector allow us to find solutions to challenges and take advantage of new opportunities that may arise in the future”.

The transfer of knowledge and solutions to the agricultural sector is an essential part of NEIKER’s philosophy. These alliances between the technology center and agri-food companies allow NEIKER to develop innovative solutions to meet the challenges of the sector, so that farmers can obtain better harvests and continue to care for the environment and for the production of our food.

Potatoes ‘with origin’

Unlike most of the potatoes that are more common in our markets, Beltza is characterized by its intense purple color and for having a high content of antioxidants that are beneficial to health. In addition, it adapts very well to the climatic conditions of the Alava region, which helps to obtain a high and stable production. This new variety has Andean progenitors, which give it its purple color, and local progenitors, which contribute to its good productive performance.

Edurne has achieved very high ratings in the tastings carried out to assess its acceptance by the end customer. This variety is characterized by its light yellow flesh and a very thin skin that is easy to wash and peel. In addition, it has a good aptitude for both frying and cooking, which makes it ideal for domestic consumption.

With a view to the upcoming Christmas campaign, UDAPA plans to market these two new varieties through its main customers belonging to large-scale distribution, under the ‘Potatoes with origin’ banner.

“Launching these two new references on the market is a very important milestone for our cooperative, as it shows the great work we are doing to promote potato production in the territory”, says Alfonso Sáenz de Cámara, general manager of UDAPA. In addition, with the intention of making them more attractive to consumers as a whole, “these potatoes are presented in plastic-free packaging and with a modern image that aims to represent the main values of the cooperative, such as sustainability, commitment to local production, cooperation and innovation”.

Years of collaboration

The collaboration between the two entities began in 2018 with a first research and development agreement, R & D, to achieve the development of potato varieties that met certain requirements and the demands of the and consumers. In addition, it was also intended to meet the needs of farmers, obtaining innovative products to help them diversify their farms and adapt to current market demands.

This is how these two varieties came about. To obtain Edurne and Beltza, the center was based on the use of strictly traditional and natural techniques, crossing different varieties of recognized culinary quality, as well as with resistance to the most common diseases in our environment derived from the agro-climatic conditions, viruses and nematodes (worms).

Thus, in 2019 the Beltza variety was registered in the registry, and a year later, in the spring of 2020, the cooperative received 600kg of seed of the same tuber to carry out an agronomic and commercial evaluation. Thus, a harvest of 8,000 kilos was obtained, which was very positively accepted by consumers. In the case of Edurne, it was in the summer of 2021 when UDAPA received 1,200kg of seed that it planted on the farm of one of its producer partners to carry out a demonstration evaluation trial.

How are new potato varieties obtained?

The procedure of NEIKER’s Plant Production and Protection Department to obtain new varieties is strictly based on natural methods, through crosses between different varieties with good agronomic characteristics and which offer resistance to the main diseases of the crop. Since 1933, when the Potato Breeding Station was created in Iturrieta (Álava), the technology center has been developing new varieties through a clonal selection process, adapted to the agro-climatic conditions of the different potato producing areas in Spain and the EU. So far, NEIKER has registered more than thirty varieties, some of them with success in national and international markets.