Lutosa and its farmer-partners: a relationship of trust that lasts

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Our sustainable commitments

Based on respect and proximity, the agronomy policy at Lutosa has a strong partnership with its farmers, who are also its suppliers. We source up to 70% of our potato supply locally in Belgium. We work with farmers located in a radius close to our 2 production sites: Leuze and Waregem.

The benefits of these local partnerships

In this vast  market, “we agree  contracts at the local level with farmers who want to diversify their culture. Contracts are established with farmers at the start of the year. Potatoes are purchased in February for delivery in September. This method of working secures the demand for the farmer’’  . recalls Hugo Morelle, Field Agronomy Manager at Lutosa.

The advantage for Lutosa is that the prices are fixed in advance. The rest of the potatoes are purchased as the season progresses. Lutosa continue to purchase potatoes daily to restock the factory and the production lines.

For a farmer, a good year “means a yield of 50 tonnes of potatoes per hectare. Conversely, in a drier season, like in 2018, the yield can drop to 35 tonnes of potatoes per hectare”. Explains Hugo Morelle

By working with Lutosa, the farmer commits to a tonnage that he is sure to produce, this is a safeguard for the future.

The contract is also a guide for the farmer. He will know “the number of plants to buy and plan the investment in fertilizers, phytosanitary products and fuel for the tillage process; in other words the full cost of production. The farmer anticipates that his costs will be covered by the contract established with Lutosa adds Hugo Morelle.

What other benefits?

  • Direct trade :  there is no intermediary.
  • Proximity: the guarantee of rapid supply (within 24 hours).
  • Transparency: the farmer delivers to Lutosa and comes out with a tare slip for payment. The majority of the potatoes are stored at the farmer’s premises, the buildings are designed with a good ventilation system for optimum storage conditions .There are no products used to improve conservation, we simply use products that prevent germination. Our storage units are designed with good ventilation to keep the potatoes in perfect condition. They are also very well insulated to protect against the high temperatures encountered in recent years.
  • Contracts: despite the crises of 2018 (drought), 2020 (Covid pandemic) and today, the prices of fertilizers and fuels (due to the Ukrainian crisis), Lutosa makes every effort to honour contracts with its farmers.
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Confidence and sustainability

Our local purchasing policy means that there are only 50 km on average between the fields and our factory. We work in close partnership with hundreds of farmers in this geographical area encompassing Hainaut and Flanders.

“A large number of farmers (who are still trading with Lutosa today)  started the commercial relationship with the Van den Broeke family back in 1978. They farmed the land around the Leuze site. The following generations have continued this relationship. Some of them have been associated with our activities for more than 30 years. », recalls Hugo Morelle, Field Agronomy Manager at Lutosa.

This is the case of JCX Pom in Jurbise (Mons). This mixed farm is active in polyculture (beets, chicory, beans, peas) and also raises blue-white cows. JCX Pomme started growing potatoes 40 years ago with a few hectares and delivered their first “Bintje” potato tipper in 1992. The following year, they signed the first contract with Lutosa for around 100 tonnes of potatoes.

Fifteen years later, the sons arrived on the farm and wanted to develop potato cultivation starting with 50 hectares.

Today, they have 130 hectares dedicated to potatoes such as “Fontane” and “Challenger” as well as two long-term storage buildings for 4,000 tons of potatoes.

Today, competition is tougher and it is more complicated to retain farmers. “Each year, the Agro Service approaches new farmers. Farms are getting bigger and, at the same time, there are fewer and fewer of them. They are no longer 100% supply to Lutosa. They spread the risk. explains Hugo Morelle.

A commitment, synonymous with quality

Our commitment begins with the cultivation of our potatoes. We have a strong relationship with our farmers. Each year, we select about twenty plots. We follow the farmers from the planting of the potatoes, and throughout the cultivation process.

We support our farmers and share practical advice with them. Our Agronomy Service agents at Lutosa, Hugo Morelle and Géric Beaumont work and exchange knowledge with our partner farmers on their crops and their storage.

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“The objective is to monitor the development of the crop and obtain yield estimates in July. JCX Pomme is one of the farmers for whom Lutosa selects a plot and follows the potatoes from planting to harvest. says Hugo Morelle, Field Agronomy Manager at Lutosa.

This support from the Agronomy Department consists of visiting storage sheds at least once a season to check the state of conservation status of the potato. The farmer can also contact us proactively if he encounters conservation concerns. “There is a real sharing of experience from Lutosa to the farmer and vice versa. These visits make it possible to react quickly if there are any concerns or bring forward the delivery period for the potatoes. explains Hugo Morelle.

Our Agronomy teams select the varieties of potato plants to be grown by farmers, best matching the specificities of each potato.

“This may concern the distance and depth of planting, the variety of potatoes (Fontane, etc.), advice on manuring (in terms of fertiliser), neutral opinions on the level of plant protection products. In addition, each year we test new varieties for possible future applications. “explains Hugo Morelle. 

Environmental concerns  have always been part of the strategy for Lutosa and for several years we have supported farmers towards optimal agricultural practices. Over the years, we have succeeded in building a real community of farmers united around the same objective: to provide superior quality potatoes. Until the establishment of our new brand identity, we wanted to associate this close collaboration with its farmers, in our logo, expressed by the furrows of the field.