This year, Batati GmbH will gather the sixth Swiss sweet potato harvest. At present about 25% of the surface has already been harvested. “The conditions were ideal during planting, but unlike in previous years the temperatures in summer were warm, but the temperatures in previous years were not reached,” said co-director Simon van der Veer.

For this reason, the harvest started about 10 days later than in 2019.

“As far as breeding technology is concerned, not much was changed outside the density of the plant. Here a little more plants per hectare were planted than last year, because we are rather aiming for an average size of 200-800 grams per tuber. Extra-large sweet potatoes are limited and sell at lower prices,” Simon says.

The yield of the fields already harvested is good, but outliers upwards and downwards are missing so far. What is striking is that more damage has been caused by wire worm this year. This harmful organism loves almost more sweet potatoes than ordinary potatoes. “How long we can deliver depends on the coming weeks and the size of the harvest,” says Christian Hurni, co-founder and director of Batati GmbH. An accurate estimate cannot yet be made.

Batati is proud of the new stand with new processing Hall. In the hall there is the new warehouse with a capacity of about 1200 tonnes of sweet potatoes and the processing technique consisting of an optical sorting plant and automatic filling and weighing technique. “We wanted to make another step towards an efficient and rational under one roof. We have succeeded,” explains Christian Hurni, who deals with the technical and day-to-day management of the company.

In Switzerland there is a certain consolidation in cultivation. Some growers stop because of the risks or lack of market access, others increase their cultivation. The same is true of the companies that grow for Batati. In addition to the two company founders Christian Hurni and Simon van der Veer, nine other companies grow sweet potatoes for Batati GmbH.

Most have expanded the cultivation in the current season. However, it can be said that sales increase rather than decrease. It is not yet possible to assess whether and how the coronapandemia results in sales.

Simon: “when the lockdown came this spring and borders were closed, our warehouses were already empty.”

However, the sale of second-class sweet potatoes is still difficult. Processed products have become even more competitive from more advantageous foreign products.

“It is therefore necessary to find the balance between preventing food washing at the same time as profitability of the processing of such products. We’re not just doing it for fun,” writes Simon.

However, it is planned to introduce a mixture of sweet potato and potato flakes this winter.

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