United front against rogue dealers

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The Brussels-based Breeders Trust which seeks to stamp out illegal trade and cultivation of potatoes and grass seeds globally, has signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille, which specialises in the data processing of satellite and has built up a strong position in the potato sector in the past two years.

The technology services offered by Geo4A will help the trust carry out enforcement procedures against rogue companies involved in the production and sale of potatoes.

Paul Oomen, Managing Director of Geo4A, said: “The seed potato sector is an important sector for us and we try to support these companies as well as possible. We want to emphasise that Geo4A only focuses on the technological development in which (breeding) companies and farmers make their own agreements about its use. All these parties are important partners for Geo4A.”

He added that in this difficult period, in which the potato sector is abeing hit hard, joint investments are still being made in new technologies.  

General Director of Breeders Trust, Geert Staring, said the trust would benefit considerably from the extensive knowledge and experience Geo4A has built up with various large market players in the sector, especially in the field of growth monitoring.

“In this way we hope to receive more information about the varieties and the cultivated hectares retrospectively, anywhere in the world. Initially we will start with five varieties and we will be expanding that further in the coming years. In the first phase we will mainly look at specific variety characteristics, taking into account the different growing conditions and soil types,” he said.

“The system is self-learning so the results will become more and more reliable. This principle is also applied in crop recognition, with which experience has already been gained. The intention is to use this form of variety recognition as one of the enforcement instruments in our toolbox. It will make our search for illegal propagation and royalties payments more efficient and provide a more complete picture for our breeders, who naturally want to prevent their varieties from being abused by others.”