Emmeloord, 18 December – Last week Agrico held its annual central members’ meeting, during which the financial statements of 2022/2023 were explained and the members looked ahead to the new harvest year.
During the meeting, Adrie Vermeulen stepped down as chairman of Agrico. This signaled the end of a 12-year term of service, during which Vermeulen fulfilled board duties at Agrico. In the last 7 years he fulfilled these duties as chairman of the cooperative.
The arable farmer from Swifterbant will be remembered as a chairman who gave every member the chance to be heard. On behalf of the members, Vermeulen received a sculpture symbolizing connection. In recognition of his huge contribution to the cooperative, Vermeulen was also appointed a Member of Merit.
At the members’ council meeting on Thursday 14 December 2023, Johan Barendregt was appointed chairman of Agrico’s board and supervisory board. Barendregt therefore takes over the chairmanship from Vermeulen. Johannes van Heerwaarden has also been reappointed and Mr Kees Dekker was appointed as external member to fill the vacancy of Mr Ensing. Kees Dekker is CFO at Royal Koopmans.
During the central members’ meeting, general director Jan van Hoogen handed over the baton to his successor Mark Zuidhof. On 16 September 2022 Mark Zuidhof was appointed operational director. Since that time, Zuidhof has formed Agrico’s Statutory Board with Van Hoogen. Jan van Hoogen will step down as of 1 January 2024. Jan van Hoogen has been working for Agrico since 1989, of which more than 10 years as CEO. After his resignation, he will remain associated with Agrico as an advisor for a few months. In recognition of his involvement and enormous commitment to the cooperative, Jan van Hoogen has also been appointed Member of Merit.
For the first time in its history, Agrico passed the € 400 million mark in sales. In absolute terms, the record amount of € 233 million was also paid to the members. Seed potato sales were approx. € 34 million higher than the previous year, an increase of 16%. Table potato sales were approx. € 19 million higher, which is +50%. The increase is mainly due to higher prices, because the volume of seed potatoes rose by 4% and the volume of table potatoes rose by 6%. The subsidiaries did well again: the remaining € 14 million increase in turnover is due to higher sales at some of our international subsidiaries.
The wet spring resulted in the potatoes being planted later. Due in part to the late season, Agrico received more complaints. Overall inflation also resulted in significant cost increases, in particular costs specifically related to sales, such as transport and logistics, were substantially higher than last year.
Following the formal part of the meeting, Peter Oldenkamp, director of Agrico Research, talked about Agrico Research’s future plans. He spoke specifically about the investment in new construction projects, particularly laboratories. An important aspect of this is the expansion of the molecular laboratory. This investment is required to enable Agrico Research to expand significantly in the development and use of modern breeding techniques, including the use of molecular markers, in order to grow sustainable varieties and achieve healthy growth in the future.
The annual report can be read in full at https://www.agricopotatoes.com/about-agrico.