Avebe

Avebe is a cooperative of starch-potato growers focused on the market. Traditionally we only focused on extracting starch from potatoes. However, by developing innovative methods we now also extract proteins from potatoes that are intended for the food industry. But there is more…. To us a potato is a source of opportunities with even more ingredients that can be turned into value. In other words, if it’s in there, we’ll extract it!

Avebe’s Chief Financial Officer talks to two members of the Youth Council about the new strategy

'WE THINK IT'S

REALISTICALLY AMBITIOUS'

The new strategy Binding & Building 2.0 was presented last summer in the district councils and the youth council of the cooperative. How have the plans for the period 2018-2023 gone down among young members? Financial top executive Rob van Laerhoven talks to two members of the Youth Council, Annelous Groenwold and Gert Sterenborg.

Sustainable potato cultivation

The strategy Binding & Building 2.0 contains concrete objectives for a market-oriented sustainable potato growing: 10 per cent less environmental impact, 10 per cent less CO2 emissions and 10 per cent more starch per hectare. Farmer Annelous Groenwold welcomes the pursuit of a more sustainable way of growing crops. ‘I think many young farmers are doing this very consciously. When you join the company or are working on the takeover, you focus on the future. We want to be able to pass on a healthy company in 25 or 30 years' time. If you don't have a vision on that, things get difficult.

Market-oriented thinking

It's also a question of market-oriented thinking, says Rob Van Laerhoven. ‘We see the best growth opportunities in healthy and environmental-friendly food ingredients. We've got a much stronger argument for our customers if we can show that our raw material is grown sustainably. It's a relevant sales argument for us, as a cooperative we know where our potatoes come from. This gives us an advantage over other starch product suppliers.’

Technology will help us achieve our goals

Annelous Groenwold and Gert Sterenborg appreciate the fact that the strategy sets clear goals and that as entrepreneurs they can decide for themselves how they translate them into their own business operations. Gert Sterenborg: ‘Precision farming will help us to work even more efficiently, with fewer chemicals. We're already doing this by means of haulm killing. We make a task chart for each field based on the leaf mass. This allows us to dose the agent very precisely. We also spray much less where there is little foliage. I expect that in the future we'll also be able to use robots for weeding.

New resistant varieties

What can Avebe do to support growers? The two growers mention the Averis breeding company and the development of new varieties that are resistant to diseases such as phytophthora and alternaria. If a crop is less disease-sensitive, fewer resources are needed to keep it healthy. They expect it to be feasible to increase starch yield per hectare. Gert Sterenborg. ‘10 per cent must be possible. But we have to be careful not to lower the soil quality. In this respect, we also take a critical look at the vision of the Ministry of Agriculture. The minister wants us to use less fertiliser. But we can't do with animal manure alone.’

Is 95 euros ambitious enough?

Gert Sterenborg wonders whether a performance price of 95 euros in 2023 is ambitious enough. Rob van Laerhoven: ‘We assume annual investments of 45 million. Half of this is needed for replacement investments and making energy consumption more sustainable. The other half we invest in innovation and development of new products with more added value in the market. If we invest 60 million a year instead of 45 million, the performance price could go up. But that also would mean that we would need more equity. We could turn to the Members for that. But the company must also be ready for it. We believe that the new strategy is realistically ambitious.’

ROB VAN LAERHOVEN

has been Avebe’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since August 2017.

ANNELOUS GROENWOLD

works as a potential successor to her parents' farm in Borgercompagnie with 260 hectares in a peat-colonial crop plan. The Groenwold family also rears Limousin beef cattle.

GERT STERENBORG

has a company in partnership with his parents in Onstwedde. They work 200 hectares of land with a predominantly peatcolonial crop plan. The Sterenborgs also grow onions and have poultry as a side.

Avebe’s Chief Financial Officer talks to two members of the Youth Council about the new strategy

'WE THINK IT'S

REALISTICALLY AMBITIOUS'

ANNELOUS GROENWOLD

has been Avebe’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since August 2017.

works as a potential successor to her parents' farm in Borgercompagnie with 260 hectares in a peat-colonial crop plan. The Groenwold family also rears Limousin beef cattle.

ROB VAN LAERHOVEN

GERT STERENBORG

has a company in partnership with his parents in Onstwedde. They work 200 hectares of land with a predominantly peatcolonial crop plan. The Sterenborgs also grow onions and have poultry as a side.

LEFT

RIGHT

The new strategy Binding & Building 2.0 was presented last summer in the district councils and the youth council of the cooperative. How have the plans for the period 2018-2023 gone down among young members? Financial top executive Rob van Laerhoven talks to two members of the Youth Council, Annelous Groenwold and Gert Sterenborg.

Sustainable potato cultivation

The strategy Binding & Building 2.0 contains concrete objectives for a market-oriented sustainable potato growing: 10 per cent less environmental impact, 10 per cent less CO2 emissions and 10 per cent more starch per hectare. Farmer Annelous Groenwold welcomes the pursuit of a more sustainable way of growing crops. ‘I think many young farmers are doing this very consciously. When you join the company or are working on the takeover, you focus on the future. We want to be able to pass on a healthy company in 25 or 30 years' time. If you don't have a vision on that, things get difficult.

Market-oriented thinking

It's also a question of market-oriented thinking, says Rob Van Laerhoven. ‘We see the best growth opportunities in healthy and environmental-friendly food ingredients. We've got a much stronger argument for our customers if we can show that our raw material is grown sustainably. It's a relevant sales argument for us, as a cooperative we know where our potatoes come from. This gives us an advantage over other starch product suppliers.’

Technology will help us achieve our goals

Annelous Groenwold and Gert Sterenborg appreciate the fact that the strategy sets clear goals and that as entrepreneurs they can decide for themselves how they translate them into their own business operations. Gert Sterenborg: ‘Precision farming will help us to work even more efficiently, with fewer chemicals. We're already doing this by means of haulm killing. We make a task chart for each field based on the leaf mass. This allows us to dose the agent very precisely. We also spray much less where there is little foliage. I expect that in the future we'll also be able to use robots for weeding.

New resistant varieties

What can Avebe do to support growers? The two growers mention the Averis breeding company and the development of new varieties that are resistant to diseases such as phytophthora and alternaria. If a crop is less disease-sensitive, fewer resources are needed to keep it healthy. They expect it to be feasible to increase starch yield per hectare. Gert Sterenborg. ‘10 per cent must be possible. But we have to be careful not to lower the soil quality. In this respect, we also take a critical look at the vision of the Ministry of Agriculture. The minister wants us to use less fertiliser. But we can't do with animal manure alone.’

Is 95 euros ambitious enough?

Gert Sterenborg wonders whether a performance price of 95 euros in 2023 is ambitious enough. Rob van Laerhoven: ‘We assume annual investments of 45 million. Half of this is needed for replacement investments and making energy consumption more sustainable. The other half we invest in innovation and development of new products with more added value in the market. If we invest 60 million a year instead of 45 million, the performance price could go up. But that also would mean that we would need more equity. We could turn to the Members for that. But the company must also be ready for it. We believe that the new strategy is realistically ambitious.’