'Growth through change'

Annual report 2021/2022

Table of contents


Having the courage to change in time

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” In the words of Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution: no matter how strong or smart you might be, you’re ultimately not going to survive unless you adapt to changes in the market or society. This theory certainly applies to a well-established cooperative such as Agrico: unless we continue to deliver the higher-quality seed potatoes our customers expect from us, it will only be a matter of years before our revenues start drying up. Also, unless we are able to effectively manage the currently sharply increasing cost price of the cultivation of seed potatoes and the sale of seed potatoes, our future will hang in the balance.

We are seeing the same trend in the cultivation of table-stock potatoes: are we going to cling to our current strategy to keep increasing the land available in a shrinking market? Or will we change our course of action and shift the focus to growing more potatoes for the upper end of the market?

 We opted for the latter alternative in the past year. The investigation conducted by Agrico in conjunction with its subsidiary Leo de Kock/Nedato into opportunities for cooperation in the supply of fresh, unprocessed table-stock potatoes essentially follows on from this and is in line with the idea of ‘having the courage to change in time’. This calls for larger investments in innovative potato varieties and a further increase in the output of high-quality categories.  Since we can achieve this more efficiently collectively than alone, we aim to integrate the purchasing, sales, and packaging of table-stock potatoes all within a single company.

For example, we will continue to examine whether we are still on the right track with our Agrico Strategy 2030, which we defined in 2018. Adapting quickly to change has become essential in which a global pandemic and a war have upended the world as we knew it. This is particularly true if you are also contending with a government that urges you to make radical changes to cultivation methods within a short space of time. They want to see more extensive cultivation plans, eliminate the use of crop protection products by 50 %, and have 25% of all crops be organic by 2030. The words ‘easier said than done’ spring inevitably to mind. I will share with you my personal message to the Dutch government: allow some time, realism and – above all – good common sense in achieving these objectives.

Despite Covid-19 and the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine, we managed to significantly increase our profits from both seed potatoes and table-stock potatoes over the 2020-2021. All told, I believe our payout prices have been very strong across the board.

We are fairly optimistic about the outlook for the 2022-2023 financial year. Not only is there a massive demand for food (which is only set to increase over the next few years), we are also facing a worldwide grain shortage, coupled with a rising demand for seed potatoes. Yet at the same time we will see a sharp increase in the expenses involved in cultivating potatoes over the next few years, whether we will be able to fully offset the rise in prices. However, our mission is clear: we want to see an increase in yield prices, and we will do everything within our ability to accomplish this.

Jan van Hoogen, Managing Director

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Mission and vision

Mission: A passion for potatoes!

Based on our cooperative structure, we supply high-quality seed and ware potatoes worldwide, along with the required expertise. We develop varieties that are suitable for any location on earth where professional, successful and sustainable potato cultivation is possible. This is our way of contributing to food security for a growing global population. We create value for our customers and the Cooperative’s members with respect for people and the environment.

Vision: We aim for growth!

By improving professional standards within the organization, we ensure a better quality of potato cultivation, with a maximum focus on innovation, people and the environment. Our growth stems from the increasing demand for seed potatoes worldwide. We develop the best varieties for existing and new markets. For ware potatoes, both conventionally grown and organically grown, we achieve growth as a booster of the supply chain in the Dutch market. In an inspiring environment, we work towards achieving optimum growth for all our stakeholders.

Report of the Supervisory Board

"We will see more changes than ever over the next decade"

Agrico will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Adrie Vermeulen, who is about to enter his last year as Chairman of the Supervisory Board, is looking forward to the arrival of a new generation of young potato growers

How does the Supervisory Board look back on the 2021-2022 financial year?

“I’m pleased with the fact that we’re been really focused on the long term, on the process of gradually reassessing our Agrico Strategy 2030. The key question we were looking to answer was: how can we keep our cooperative future-proof? That is our role, at the end of the day, and I’m happy that we’ve been able to do this in such a constructive way.”

What were the findings of your reassessment?

“One of the main takeaways is that we have been unable to meet the long-term outlook for table-stock potatoes we planned in 2018. We thought that we would be able to play a leading role through our varieties and state-of-the-art packaging facility, but this did not materialize in the end. We therefore decided to reduce the amount of farmland used by 40%, taking five years to do so, and in the meantime focusing on the upper end of the market by prioritizing quality. That is quite a challenge for a cooperative like ours.”

How have table-stock potato growers responded?

“They’ve been critical. It’s a bitter pill for them to swallow, but our members do understand.”

Farmers are dealing with all these challenges, and it doesn’t seem to be over just yet.

“I would agree with that. In fact, I think we will be seeing more changes in the agricultural industry over the next decade than we have seen in the past 50 years. The climate agenda, the Water Framework Directive, crop protection, Farm to Fork, nitrogen, a society that has a different view of us, and the competition for space. Our members have a lot on their plates right now.”

How do you manage all this at Agrico?

“We are trying to attract members with a vision for the future to our entities.”

Agrico will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. Will we see another 50 years?

“I have no doubt of it. Although we will certainly spend some time in 2023 looking back, we mainly want to look ahead. I’m pleased that nine young members applied for four spots in Agrico’s Young Members Group. I find it reassuring to see a whole new generation coming up to lead our cooperative into the future.”

Report of the Management Board

Building the future during a challenging season

The financial year 2021-2022 was another turbulent year, in which Covid-19 again wreaked havoc on the sale of seed potatoes. This was compounded by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

“The market conditions and the difficulties we’ve had shipping the potatoes in time have made this a challenging season. We are therefore extremely satisfied that we still managed to pay these prices to our growers,” says Managing Director Jan van Hoogen. The average price for seed potatoes was more than 20% higher than in the previous financial year, while the price of ware potatoes was around 47% higher. Prices per kilo for organic seed potatoes and ware potatoes were significantly higher as well.”

Construction of minituber storage facility underway

On 17 November 2021, the first pile was driven for the minituber storage facility on the de Munt industrial park in Emmeloord, near the head office and the Agrico Quality Center. In doing so, Agrico has taken the next step towards further improving the company’s professional standards. “Since the minitubers are not exposed to other agricultural products here, the risk of disease is very limited. This is a major advantage when it comes to meeting the highest quality requirements we set for the structure of the base materials,” Van Hoogen explains. The facility, which is already in use, has a capacity for 10 million minitubers.

Considering strategy

The Management Board devoted considerable time this year for analyzing the Agrico Strategy 2030, which was set in 2018. This resulted in an overhaul of the strategy used for ware potatoes to date. Over the next few years, Agrico hopes to increase with a more select group of table-stock potato growers to more high-quality varieties and quality categories.

Cooperation in table-stock potatoes

Agrico is aiming for a close partnership between our subsidiary Leo de Kock in Purmerend, and Nedato. This is why we intend to integrate purchasing, sales and packaging of table-stock potatoes within a single company. Organic table-stock potatoes will remain outside the merger for strategic reasons.

Return of organic brand

Over the past financial year, Agrico decided to put the BioSelect brand back on the map again. The reintroduction of BioSelect should emphasize that Agrico’s potatoes are organic from the time they are seeds until they are fully-grown tubers. This is currently not yet the case across the international market.

Lotus Project

Our Lotus Project – modern business operations, with state-of-the-art IT systems – was implemented this year. In a series of stages, Agrico went live with the new ERP platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. At the same time, the foundations were laid for the new teleportal based on the Mendix platform and two innovative new apps were designed for our field sales representatives. “Combined, this marks great progress in the roadmap of our IT strategy and is one of the key cornerstones of our Agrico Strategy 2030,” Van Hoogen says.

The new system was officially implemented on 1 August 2022. Van Hoogen is pleased with the result: “What it essentially comes down to is that our new ERP system will be more directional: what organizations are suited for what purpose, and which members are best equipped to deliver it? This allows us to make the most out of the market.”

"We are extremely satisfied that we still managed to pay these prices to our growers"
Jan van Hoogen
Managing Director

Solid performance

Record turnover of €343 million in a tightening market

Agrico posted record turnover of €343 million over the past financial year. This made it possible to increase the payout to growers by nearly 20%, despite a direct cost increase of 35%.

The economic and political turbulence for the past financial year inevitably affected Agrico. Over the last six months of 2021, we experienced the aftermath of Covid-19, which continued to create uncertainty. “People were still a little cautious in their forecasts a year ago,” says Finance & Control Manager Mark Kranenburg. However, the actual fallout of the pandemic turned out to be less severe than expected. Most markets improved in terms of volume, with high prices. All this resulted in a €50 million increase in annual turnover, reaching a total of €343 million. Kranenburg: “This was the highest turnover in Agrico’s history.”

What accounts for the bulk of the growth?

“In the Netherlands, the volume of seed potatoes traded increased by 6%, even though prices were significantly higher. This increased our turnover from seed potatoes by €33 million. The supply of ware potatoes fell by 20%, but here too prices increased significantly, causing turnover to be increased by €12 million. Our foreign subsidiaries also performed well: the remaining €5 million increase in turnover is attributed to the higher revenues at several of our subsidiaries.”

Agrico’s direct costs increased by no less than 35% Can you explain that?

“Packaging costs and transport costs had obviously already increased sharply during Covid, and this was then compounded by the outbreak of the Ukraine war in February 2022. This has had an even greater impact on cost inflation numbers, especially for anything related to transport and energy. However, Agrico has been able to charge on a portion of these costs to buyers, particularly transport costs.”

This means more turnover, but also higher direct expenses. How has this affected the company’s gross margins?

“Our gross margins are €38.6 million: a 7% increase over the last financial year. This amount was almost fully paid out to our members. Our operating surplus reached €2 million; this amount was added to equity.”

Are you pleased with the results?

“With Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine in the background, I think the financial performance of Agrico B.V. and its subsidiaries can be considered strong. Our margins ended up higher than expected, costs remained within the budget, income from licensed cultivation shows healthy growth of nearly 20%, and the performance of the foreign subsidiaries was also better than expected. All in all, it was a good financial year for Agrico. Considering the challenging circumstances we’ve been dealing with related to deliveries, this is all to the credit of our employees and growers.”

Agrico Research

Nine new varieties on the market

Agrico Research, the company’s incubator, works tirelessly on developing new, innovative potato varieties. Their aim is to deliver an average of two new varieties a year; they launched a total of nine new varieties in the market this year.

The first eye-catching newcomer is the SW 10-8218, which does not yet have an official name. A middle-late variety with yellow skin and yellow flesh, this waxy variety will find its markets through retail in Northwestern Europe, in Agrico’s expectation. “What makes SW 10-8218 special is its high resistance to Globodera pallida.It’s the first real fresh ware potato in the Agrico portfolio that offers this kind of resistance,” Agrico Research director Sjefke Allefs explains.

SW 10-8218 was developed by potato breeding company Lantmännen Seed in Emmeloord. In early 2022, SW 10-8218 acquired plant variety rights and was launched in the market. This also applies to the Agostino variety which was likewise grown by Lantmännen Seed. Agostino is a middle-late, red-skinned variety of ware potatoes. “This middle-late variety has a high resistance to Phytophthora in the leaves and tubers, and therefore belongs to the varieties marketed under the Next Generation label,” Allefs says. The final Lantmännen variety to be granted plant variety rights this year is the Stacey variety. It is characterized by fine sorting and a beautiful red skin color.

Our Danish affiliate AKV Langholt launched the new Fyone variety. Fyone is a late-maturing starch potato with a high resistance to Phytophthora The Fyone will be launched in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, mainly through licensed cultivation. Grower Jan Lucas Spijkman, who has been contracted to Agrico for many years, launched the Salvera variety this financial year, a fairly late ware variety designated for seed-potato exports. “Salvera’s strong points are the attractive appearance of the tubers and the stable form and sorting for changing cultivation conditions,” Allefs says. The color of the flesh is creamy white, and its primary markets are in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Agrico Research’s own nursery launched four new varieties in the market. The first of these is Armedi, a main crop variety for the processing industry. Allefs believes this is a suitable variety for products for which the processing industry currently uses mainly Fontane. “The added value of Armedi is that this variety is highly resistant to both Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida.”

Another variety that received plant variety rights is Nirvana, another variety for processing into French fries. With its resistance to Phytophthora, it is one of the Next Generation varieties and is suitable for both organic and conventional cultivation.

Napoleon is a variety that is suitable for processing into potato chips and is the seventh variety receiving plant variety rights in the past financial year. Allefs: “Napoleon is a relatively late variety with a high net yield of processable tubers. The harvested potatoes can be stored for a longer period of time. The underwater weight is a fraction higher than Hermes, while the variety is clearly less vulnerable to Globodera pallida.

Finally, there is Aztec Gold, a late-maturing variety marketed as a specialty variety. This variety has a striking deep-yellow flesh color, a significantly shorter cooking time, and excellent consumer quality. With its resistance to Phytophthora, the Aztec Gold variety is one of the Next Generation varieties.

Seed potatoes

Agrico achieves significantly higher payout prices

Agrico has achieved substantially higher payout prices for the seed-potato harvest for 2021 than for 2020. The company will be transferring more than €25 million to its members than the previous year, while the amount of farmland has remained virtually unchanged.

The average price for seed potatoes across all size categories S-A for the 2021 harvest reached an average of €31.10 per 100 kilograms. In 2020, this price was €25.77. Yields per hectare for seed-potato farmers reached an average of €11,800, versus €10,200 last year. “The company will be transferring more than €25 million to its members for the 2021 harvest, while the amount of farmland has remained virtually unchanged. This means we sourced around €25 million more from the market in the past year. Considering some of the challenges we’ve faced, I’d say that’s a pretty solid result,” says Wieger van der Werff, Agrico’s Director of Sales.

Containers remain an issue

As in the previous year, Covid affected our sales in a number of ways. For one, it was difficult to organize a sufficient number of containers to transport our seed potatoes. However, logistics problems notwithstanding, Agrico still managed to get all the seed potatoes sold to their destinations in time, which means our sales went according to plan, with only exports to Bangladesh failing to meet expectations. However, the surplus could easily be sold in other markets.

Arizona driving growth in early exports

Sales of seed potatoes for the potato-processing industry went well; demand for the Fontane and Markies varieties was especially high. Through its seed potatoes, Agrico is increasingly trying to focus on early exports, which appears to be paying off: Agrico’s market share in total exports of seed potatoes hit a record high this year.

The Arizona potato variety has been a key driver fueling growth in the overseas market. The variety is resistant to viruses and bacteria, has produced exceptionally high yields, and is easy to grow in a variety of climates. As a result, we have been seeing a rise in demand from North Africa, Asia, and Central America. And that doesn’t apply only to the Arizona variety, but also to other Agrico varieties, Van der Werff emphasizes. Agrico has been growing sharply, particularly in its sales to Algeria and Egypt. This could also be facilitated because the Algerian government sharply increased the maximum import quota.

Outlook for 2022-2023

Agrico is optimistic about sales of the 2022 harvest: “The current grain shortage, driven by market conditions, has created a demand from several continents for seed potatoes. This has created a demand for seed potatoes from various other continents”, says Van der Werff. “We will see a sharp rise in the cost price of seed potatoes in the coming years and in the costs of, in particular, sea freight for shipments to our customers worldwide. We are seeing massive inflation, and we will just have to wait and see how this will affect our sales.”

Organic cultivation

Organic potato growers were severely affected by early Phytophthora damage during the 2021 harvest year. This resulted in low physical yields, which significantly drove up prices. Pool earnings for 238 paid-for hectares of organically grown seed potatoes (2021 harvest) averaged €62.82 per 100kg for all sizes, class S-A.

In 2020, the average price was €45.10. Earnings per hectare averaged €14,246 for the 2021 harvest, versus €14,190 per hectare in the previous year. Sales are down as a result of consumers tightening their purse strings.

Table-stock potatoes

Reduced amount of farmland; quality improvement

Prices for table-stock potatoes for the 2021 harvest were significantly higher than for 2020, although the market is shrinking, which has prompted Agrico to change its strategy. The lack of growth in farmland was offset by quality improvements.

For the table-stock potatoes for the 2021 harvest, the Agrico pool paid €23.06 per 100 kilograms, consumption size unsorted, delivery in week 9 (including the PlanetProof fee). In 2020, growers received €15.71 per 100 kilograms for the same potatoes. Including the PlanetProof fee, average balance per hectare for 2021 is €9,659.

Major differences in quality

We saw significant differences in quality between the various partners this year. The cold and wet spring created more problems due to the lower quality of the skin. Operational Manager Mark Zuidhof: “Black dot, in particular, is a growing problem. Since some varieties are more vulnerable to this disease than others, we are currently expanding the amount of land for varieties that are less vulnerable and are trying to reduce the amount of land earmarked for more vulnerable varieties.”

New strategy

All these trends combined have prompted Agrico to change its strategy, which had been focused, to date, on growing our market share and becoming a service provider for all major packaging companies in the Netherlands. “The reality is that there is a surplus of table-stock potatoes being grown in the Netherlands, which means you must purchase market share. This reduces the returns earned by growers,” Operational Manager Mark Zuidhof explains. Agrico decided to change its strategy in the past financial year and will now be focusing on the upper end of the market. Zuidhof: “That’s how we aim to compete in the market.”

One consequence of the new table-stock potatoes is that the amount of farmland used for the cultivation of table-stock potatoes must decrease. Initial steps for this were taken during the 2022 harvest year: Agrico lost 20% of its land– a reduction from more than 1,600 hectares to more than 1,300 hectares, particularly because a growing number of growers opted to start growing fry potatoes. Through continued and targeted growth, Agrico intends to improve quality for the higher end of the market, which allows for higher margins. “This also means the quality of the potatoes becomes even more important. For example, we are working on transitioning towards stronger varieties,” Zuidhof says. Agrico will also be introducing a new quality assurance system, which must ensure that higher quality levels earn higher rewards. This system, where the premium can increase up to 10% of the final price, was introduced for the 2022 harvest. 

Price of organic potatoes

For organic table-stock potatoes, the pool price for the 2021 harvest averaged €50.79 per 100kg for size 0/+, delivery in week 3. In 2020, the price was €28.53. Damage caused by Phytophthora was limited during the 2022 harvest year, resulting in significantly higher physical yields.

Outlook for table-stock potatoes

Growers of table-stock potatoes are dealing with growing quality risks in cultivation, coupled with increasingly stringent and more specific certification requirements in retail. “On account of the growing contract prices for industry cultivation, this type of cultivation is increasingly an alternative to growing table-stock potatoes, as we have seen over the past season,” Zuidhof says. Due to the sharp decline in the acreage of table-stock potatoes, the market for supply and demand has balanced out. He believes this offers opportunities for more competitive pricing.


Leo de Kock: transitioning towards greater sustainability

Agrico is making changes in the cultivation of table-stock potatoes. Agrico aims to focus on the upper end of the market and is therefore investigating opportunities for a closer partnership between our subsidiary Leo de Kock, and Nedato.

Purmerend-based Leo de Kock, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Agrico, purchases table-stock potatoes, the bulk of which are sourced from Agrico. Leo de Kock supplies around 32 million packaging units to [national supermarket chain] Albert Heijn annually, along with several organic supermarkets and various wholesalers. Grocery chain Albert Heijn is our biggest customer by some distance, and this alliance has developed into a fully fledged partnership.

Agrico, Leo de Kock and Nedato intend to improve their position in table-stock potatoes through a potential partnership. The market shrinks by several percentage points annually, while consumer demand has been shifting from traditional potato dishes to more versatile culinary options.

Year-round Dutch potatoes

Leo de Kock has been working closely with parent company Agrico and with growers to further improve the sustainability of the potato supply chain, including the goal to offer Next Generation potato varieties from the Netherlands throughout the year. The company also plants flower crops in field margins and places nesting boxes as part of the Beter voor Boer & Natuur (‘Better for Nature and Farmers’) program launched by the Albert Heijn national supermarket chain. Another key item is the phase-out of potato imports from other countries. Albert Heijn aims to offer its customers Dutch home-grown potatoes year-round, as part of the supermarket chain’s efforts to reduce its footprint and boost local production. Bijleveld: “Whereas a few years ago they sourced around 60% of their potatoes from the Netherlands, it is currently more than 90%, and the goal is to increase that to 100%.”

In response to Albert Heijn’s wish, Agrico and Leo de Kock are working with potato growers to extend the season. They are doing this, for example, by growing early varieties under tinfoil, along with late varieties and varieties with longer shelf lives. In other areas, too, Leo de Kock and Agrico are investing more in products grown in the Netherlands, which includes experimenting on trial fields with baby potatoes. “As before, the intention is to establish serious cultivation in the Netherlands and, in doing so, reduce imports from countries such as Israel, Britain and France, all of which export large amounts of baby potatoes,” Werring says. There are already pilot projects in place focusing on sweet potato cultivation.

ISO14001 certificate

Leo de Kock extended its certifications over the past financial year by adding ISO14001 to its body of certifications. This environmental management system relates to sustainability and the environment and supports the company to work as sustainably as possible. “We are extremely proud that we now comply with the ISO14001 certification. We are seeing an increase in awareness within our organization when it comes to CSR, which means we can really start taking steps in the right direction, giving us that extra boost we need to continue,” Werring says.

Foreign subsidiaries

Challenging season

“The past year has been a challenging one for our subsidiaries. Internal and external factors affected the operations of our foreign subsidiaries,” says Gilles Fontaine, Manager of Foreign Subsidiaries.

For this annual report, Fontaine looks back on the past financial year. Although the situation was different in each country, there were a number of aspects that stood out for him. “In several countries, we had to deal with overproduction and quality issues, while the wet and dry season in some countries also took its toll.

The war in Ukraine also had an impact in many countries, and in addition, political, economic, and financial trends and developments all had a noticeable effect on the market. “We saw a decline in the demand for ware potatoes, which created uncertainty. All these factors resulted in a domino effect within the countries, turning it into a challenging season for our subsidiaries,” he says.

Greater cooperation with subsidiaries

“The synergy between Agrico and its subsidiaries ensured that we could make efficiency improvements, and as a result the season ended better than expected,” Fontaine concludes. As a second advantage, he cites the closer cooperation between the subsidiaries and Agrico when it comes to support services, including HR, IT, CSR, and marketing and communications. This has resulted in two new websites going live for Poland, with Canada and Sweden following in the near future, and we will start working together even more closely in the coming year.

Another bright point was that we were able to hold a Subsidiary Day again at Desmazières in France. Fontaine: “After three years without a subsidiary event in any of our countries, this was the perfect time to breathe new life into the process and the group on account of the new positions at Agrico and its subsidiaries. We combined this with a very special Strategy Day together with the Agrico management team, the manager of our subsidiaries, human resources, and the marketing and communications department.”

2022-2023: Another challenging year

Fontaine took over as the manager of the foreign subsidiaries on 1 August 2022, a new position within the Agrico Group. He previously served as director of Desmazières, Agrico’s French subsidiary, a role currently held by Édouard Fourrier. Fontaine: “I will now be able to focus completely on my new role.” He expects the upcoming year to be another challenging year for the subsidiaries and points to the many uncertainties looming, including high energy prices, higher freight and production costs, and high expected pool prices.


“We’d rather be leaders than followers”

René Vernooij, who is tasked with coordinating CSR at Agrico, feels that Agrico is on the right track with its CSR policy.

CSR Coordinator René Vernooij says that Agrico potatoes have everything it takes to be able to make a difference in areas such as poverty, food security, sustainable production, and climate change. “The potato is, by nature, a highly sustainable crop due to its low water consumption and the high yields relative to the soil area in which it is cultivated. This provides us with an asset in the battle against hunger and poverty.”

Agrico already has a pretty good record when it comes to CSR. Could you tell us a little more about how you engage with CSR at Agrico?

“Establishing a solid CSR policy is one of the key priorities of Agrico 2030, which should tell you something right there. In 2019, Agrico placed CSR high on the strategic agenda. The company created a full-time position for this purpose, and I have the privilege of holding that position. Our CSR policy reflects who we are and the way we want to live and work together with respect for people, the environment, and society. We have established five topics which we feel are important in this area, and we try to make progress in each of these areas every year.”

Could you name an example?

“There’s the potato supply chain we set up in Kenya. It’s a public-private collective initiated by the government and several Dutch companies, with Agrico serving as the liaison. This collective took the initiative to establish a profitable, sustainable potato supply chain in Kenya that contributes to the country’s food security. The result was a significant increase in yield from 6 to 36 tonnes per hectare, and a leap in income for the farmers from a loss of €1,000 per hectare to a gain of more than €4,000 per hectare. Naturally, this was very beneficial to thousands of small farmers in Kenya.”

Any other initiatives?

“All Agrico branch offices have switched to green energy at this point, and we are in the process of introducing sustainable practices and principles on our farms. Growers are either considering, or already investing in, wind energy, solar panels, environmentally friendly tractors, and electric irrigation machines that run on solar energy. A growing number of farms use innovation to combine environmental protection with a lucrative business model, which I would say is a positive trend.”

So what you are essentially saying is that sustainability and progress in CSR are an ongoing process.

“That’s right, and you only need to look at history to have that confirmed. Things that were considered ‘innovative’ ten years ago are part of everyday life now. Solar panels, electric cars, green energy: those were all completely new back then and are currently the norm. That’s quite a major change, and it’s happened almost unnoticeably. If you’d asked a grower for a sustainability certificate ten years ago, they would just have given you a blank stare. Now, a large number of our growers are involved in one or more of our programs.”

What other things do you expect to be the norm ten years from now?

“I think that, ten tears from now, we will only be growing potatoes that are highly resistant to Phytophthora or other threats.”

What has been your focus in the past financial year?

“We’d like to link our CSR policy to hard data, which means making goals and action items concrete and measurable. We are currently investing a lot of time in those efforts.”

How would you rate the importance of CSR?

“Part of taking CSR seriously is dealing proactively with some of the issues. I prefer to be a leader in this area and be able to control the playing field rather than be a follower.”

CSR as a key pillar of business operations

As an agricultural organization, we feel directly connected to the Earth we all share. This is integrated into our mission, by directly linking our activities to our respect for humans, the environment and society, and therefore serves as a basis for our CSR policies. Our CSR policy reflects what we do, how we do it, and who we want to be. What milestones has Agrico achieved when it comes to CSR, how is the CSR policy designed and how does Agrico define it, and what is Agrico’s impact?

History of CSR milestones

Since the company’s early days in 1973, before CSR became a guiding principle within organizations, we have integrated sustainable principles into our operations. We took the next step back in 2008, by making Corporate Social Responsibility an even stronger part of our business operations. Since then, CSR has become more integrated into Agrico’s day-to-day operations and its subsidiaries. For example, our first ISO-26000 Annual Report was published in 2013. The timeline below shows the other milestones we have achieved.

From mission to execution

Agrico is a powerful cooperative and a force for innovation within the potato sector, creating, strengthening, and increasing the sustainability of potato value chains. We deliver strong and healthy potato varieties to destinations around the world, that are perfectly suited to local conditions and markets. We develop, produce and market high-quality seed and ware potatoes, cultivated by both conventional and organic methods. This makes it possible to create a greater positive impact together, for current and future generations.

Materiality Matrix

Agrico has developed a Materiality Matrix based on these SDGs, which reflects Agrico’s focus on sustainability and our CSR policy. The Matrix provides an overview of topics which are important to Agrico and its stakeholders. We conducted an analysis in order to be able to fill this matrix, the output from which can be used for Agrico’s CSR policy.

The Matrix sheds light on important topics such as production, market, the environment, employees, and innovation.

What is Agrico’s impact?

Through its activities, Agrico anticipates changes in society. By adhering to the Agrico Strategy 2030 at the same time, we will continue with our goal for excellent growth. We do so with respect for humans, animals, and the environment, and with a focus on sustainable growth.
Since the impact we make with our potatoes is both negative and positive, we have defined a number of indicators for the fundamental issues which we measure and monitor at the Group level. We measure the impact of our actions through the use of KPIs: Key Performance Indicators.



Francine Boschma- van Oosterhout

Marketing- and communication advisor


Thanks to

Atlas Digital and Gerbengerrit for design

Jelle Feenstra for introductory text


Agrico Hoofdkantoor

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