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M A Y J U N E 2 0 1 630 POTATO GROWER tems for minituber production aero- ponics and vermiculite based produc- tion. The aeroponic production pro- duces more per plant but is more labor intensive. Wesgrow seed potato growers separate tubers by size at harvest. Seed size potatoes are stored and shipped for seed and the larger size tubers are des- tined for the fresh market. Sifra and Mondial are popular varieties. The director of one of the Wesgrow group farms Agrivan Mr. Werner Du Plessis explained the growing packing and marketing of their potatoes. The packing house was a large operation with 62 to 80 people working. Mr. Gerhard Posthumus managing director of the cooperative Wesgrow explained that they do the marketing of fresh and seed potatoes for their members. They impose on themselves stricter guidelines to maintain the highest possible seed potato quality. That also means that the growers themselves impose discipline on their colleagues. To maintain freedom of viruses they do something similar to North Dakota by multiplying only once or twice in the same place. Their first field years multiplication is 200 miles away. Then they bring the seed potatoes to the Valley area for further seed production after which the seed is sold to non-seed growers. Vinekill of the crop for recertification on the own farm is after 90 days for other seed after 120 days. The marketing of potatoes through Wesgrow results in higher prices to the growers. Wesgrow not only does the marketing but also assist growers in agronomy and evaluating new vari- eties. It carries out variety trials with new foreign varieties. South Africa has no longer its own potato breeding pro- gram. Temperatures are high in the growing season which enhances the tendency of potato plants to grow vines rather than tubers. Wesgrow has found and developed techniques that keep plants producing tubers even under high temperatures. The results were impressive. One of the highlights of the visit of the UNECE group was the talk of Dr. David P. Keetch Chairman of the Independent Certification Council for Seed Potatoes. Dr. Keetch explained that in South Africa certified seed pota- toes underpin a multi-million dollar industry that produces about 2.3 mil- lion metric tons of potatoes per year with a total estimated value of around 433 million. He quoted the benefits of seed certification as Preventing the build-up of diseases in seed potatoes and the corresponding increase of dis- ease-causing organisms in the soil. Encouraging planting of early genera- tion seed providing greater assurance that only the lowest incidence of seed- borne diseases is present in seed pota- toes. And assisting in preventing the spread of viruses and other diseases as the South Africa Certification rules and regulations prohibit the planting of uncertified material in the same field as registered seed potatoes. In a meeting of certification officials of several countries and people from the South African industry and govern- ment there was general agreement with Dr. Keetch when he stated that all sectors freshtable and processing of the South African potato industry rely upon certified seed production to ensure the efficient production of high quality food products to consumers. The people visiting the seed potato farms and facilities in South Africa were impressed by the quality of the crop and the professionalism of indus- try and officials. Inspection supervisors are showing UNECE delegates what they are looking for in their inspections.