France | Production
The North-Western European Potato Growers Association restructures following the departure of its British representatives
NEPG has chosen a new directive following the departure of the representatives of the British AHDB from the European association on the occasion of Brexit.1/18/2021
The North-Western European Potato Growers Association (NEPG), which until December 31, 2020 was an organization made up of 5 member countries (EU-05: B, D, F, GB and NL), started 2021 without the UK AHDB. Due to various factors, the AHDB has, in fact, decided to cease to be a member of the NEPG.
Victor Phaff from the Netherlands left the post of NEPG secretary at the end of December 2020 and is now replaced by Daniel Ryckmans from Fiwap in Belgium.
Victor Phaff was the first secretary of the NEPG and has certainly made it what it is today. Victor joined the informal group of producers and producer representatives in 1999. It was under his leadership that the NEPG received its official name and logo, and later, through his contribution, obtained official status of foundation.
Victor gradually developed the informal group and gave it its current form to become a better organized and structured institution. NEPG is now considered a reliable source of information, not only for producers but also for the entire supply chain. In recent years, the media and independent companies have become increasingly aware of and have at times waited for press releases and information from the NEPG.
On January 1, some of the official members of the foundation were renewed and installed. In alphabetical order, the official representatives of the Foundation are Guy Depraetere (representative of ABS, Belgium), Alain Dequeker (representative of UNPT, France), Michael Heintges (representative of REKA Rhineland, Germany) and Bert Timmermans (representative of VTA, Countries Low). In addition to these 4 national representatives, 2 other members of the board of directors, Jaap Botma (VTA, Netherlands), first official president, and Daniel Ryckmans (Fiwap, Belgium) were also incorporated as new secretary.
Jaap Botma, current president of the VTA, is the first president of the NEPG to be elected as such. He officially took office as President on July 1, 2020 and will serve in this role for at least an additional 12 months. The idea of having a permanent president is to strengthen the secretary and work to see how the NEPG could develop in the future.
Daniel Ryckmans has worked for Fiwap in Belgium for more than 25 years. He took office as the new secretary of the NEPG on January 1.
NEPG enters a new era
The departure of Victor Phaff and the arrival of Daniel Ryckmans not only coincide with a new decade, but also, more dramatically, with a new era for producers in the potato sector and the potato industry as a whole. After more than 20 years of growth and development, 2020 has seen the 'potato world' shake up by Covid-19. For the first time in decades, the area planted with potatoes could decline significantly in 2021. It could take months for markets and prices to fully recover. Part of the development and activity of the NEPG has been (and continues to be) due to the needs of specialized potato growers who were (and still are) active free market producers. In the months and years to come, the NEPG's role as "information collector" (purchase price in the open market, prices and conditions of contracts, statistics of the production area, processing activity, import and export figures, etc.) will remain crucial for EU-04 producers.
The following organizations are the active members of the NEPG (in alphabetical order): ABS (Belgium), FIWAP (Belgium), FWA (Belgium), PCA (Belgium), REKA (Germany), UNPT (France) and VTA (Netherlands) .
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