Rabobank Noordoostpolder-Urk has acquired a taste for aid projects
Anyone attending an event or meeting at Rabobank Noordoostpolder-Urk in the last few years will have sample the coloured potato crisps from Peru. The bank has special ties with Rabobank Foundation’s ‘Papas de Colores’ project – and recently stepped up the link with the publication of a new cookbook, ROOTS Potato.
Rabobank Foundation supports the ‘Papas de Colores’ project which offers Peruvian potato farmers technical and financial support to help them to improve the potato supply chain in their region and manage it sustainably. ‘Rabobank Foundation supports a wide range of deserving projects, but as a true potato region ourselves, we felt an immediate bond with the potato farmers of the Andes’, explains management board chairman Jetze Kempenaar of Rabobank Noordoostpolder-Urk. ‘For the bank, opting to aid this project was the logical choice.’
‘As a potato region we felt an immediate bond with the potato farmers of the Andes’
Key steps on the road to self-sufficiency
Since the project was launched in 2009 it has helped some 105 farming households to take major steps. Better quality seed potatoes, adequate crop protection and the creation of natural terraces mean that yields have more than doubled in just three years. Technical expertise has enabled the farmers to switch to organic production, with nine out of ten farmers having since become organic growers with fair trade certification. As a result they now receive a 40% higher price per kilogram for their potatoes. Thanks to the increase in revenues, members of the cooperative were able to help fund the construction of their own crisps factory. ‘These are key steps on the road to self-sufficiency and that’s exactly what we are aiming for with this project,’ says Jetze. ‘Rabobank Foundation’s ultimate aim has always been to ensure that finally it’s no longer needed as a project partner.’
The ties that exist between the bank and the potato farmers of Peru are unique. Rabobank Noordoostpolder-Urk developed a taste for more and developed a special edition of Rabobank Foundation’s ROOTS cookbook in which the potato plays a central role: ROOTS Potato. Alongside tasty recipes, this enticing cookbook also features interviews with potato growers and experts as well as offering readers an introduction to Peruvian cuisine. Alongside the differences between the Dutch and Peruvian kitchens, chef Guust de Nijs was surprised to see how the two often overlap, combining the best of both worlds in the recipes featured. ROOTS Potato is currently available exclusively through Rabobank Noordoostpolder-Urk.