Italian vegetable vendors have signed an agreement to grow potatoes in the Negev during the winter, with the aim of retaining a supply of fresh produce when the Italian cold does not enable growing.
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The European seed company, Germicopa, sent diploid potato seeds to Negev farmers, for them to grow during the winter, when weather conditions in Italy are not conducive to growing. This joint venture is aimed at avoiding any severance of the marketing sequence, enabling Italy’s regions to enjoy fresh produce in the winter as well.
According to Abraham Rothstein, CEO of “Tozza” (representing Germicopa), this is a preliminary export of the species from Israel to Italy. The Italian vendors discovered the combination of good winter weather in the Negev and the quality of southern farming products.
The first transaction entails the export of 450 tons derived of the Negev fields. In light of the demand for this species in Italy, measures will be taken to increase the scope of marketing next winter.
The diploid seeds were brought to Israel after joint planning by the Italian distributor and Negev farmers in Israel. The diploid has a unique flavor and color that is loved by Italian consumers, especially in Sicily. The species produces high yields and is suitable for mashed potatoes, gnocchi, filling pocket pastries, knishes and baking.
The Germicopa seeds are advanced hybrid seeds created under full growth control in isolated areas of the French Brittany region.
Rothstein adds that the Israeli market is very important to the Europeans, seeing that we serve as their vegetable barn during the winter, when the ground on the continent is frozen, preventing vegetable growth in open areas. In the past, Europeans made do with vegetables that were stored since the summer or obtained through limited import, but as the standard of living improved in Russia and Eastern Europe, so did the demand for vegetables in the winter and spring.