Organic Potato Starch is made of Organic Potatoes contract grown in the region of the factory. In the case of Finnamyl Ltd this means South West and Western Finland – while Aloja Starkelen buys its organic potatoes from Northern Latvia and the Southern parts of Estonia.
Cultivation of starch potatoes is a different business compared to food potato production. The potato varieties have been bred for high starch content and are therefore different varieties than food potatoes. The starch content of the potatoes is approximately 20%. In food potato terminolgy they could be called floury or mealy potatoes. However already 14% starch content in food potatoes would be considered floury.
From the farmers point of view producing for potato starch means that the whole harvest is shipped to the factory directly and there is no need for storage of potatoes and of course no need for further marketing and sales work. Finnamyl has two persons managing the farmer contracts and cultivation and they also are available to help the contract farmers whenever they need advice.
The basis of production is healthy, vital seed potato. Both Finnamyl and Aloja Starkelsen organize the production of seed potato for their farmers under contract.
Organic starch potatoes produce a good 4.000 kg of potato starch per hectare on a normal year, leaving a smaller carbon footprint than, for example, grain starch. Through short distance transportation, environmentally friendly procedures and continuous training of our contracted farmers, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint even further.
Aloja Starkelsen works closely with the Baltic Organic Potato Project to develop organic potato production in Latvia and Estonia.
Both Finnamyl and Aloja Starkelsen believe in the growth of the organic food market and are therefore expanding the contracted cultivation area of organic starch potatoes in Finland and in Latvia and Estonia respectively. With two distinct growing areas the cooperation guarantees reliable and increasing availability of high quality organic potato starch.
Potato starch is produced in a production campaign at the time of potato harvest. The campaign starts in August and continues until the end of November. At Finnamyl organic potato starch is still a very small part of the total production of 24.000 tons of potato starch. All in all Finnamyl processes over 1 million kg of potatoes every day during the campaign. However organic potato starch is produced within only two days. At Aloja Starkeslen – where total capacity is smaller than at Finnamyl – every week is begun from the totally cleaned production line with organic production and organic production is proportionately much more important.
The loads brought in by the farmers are analysed to ascertain the purity, quality and starch content of the potatoes. Farmers are informed of the quality and starch content of the load quickly through an automated process which ensures they have this information before leaving to fetch another load.
Processing the potatoes begins immediately after the quality check. First the potatoes are washed and crushed. After this the crushed mass is sifted and the tiny starch granules are retained. The starch is washed out and dried to powder. You can see pictures of the Finnamyl process in our blog posting of the 2012 campaign.
The pulp that comprises the fibrous by-product of this process is used as feed and the cell sap from the potatoes is spread onto nearby fields to recycle the nutrients found in the potato. 2012 was the first year that also the pulp from the organic process was separated from conventional, certified organic and supplied to an organic cattle farm as fodder.
The high standards across all areas of our operations are the key factor to our success. In order to ensure the continuous development and improvement of our operations, we review our quality aims each year and consistently monitor the realisation of these aims.
We uphold the regulations, legislation and governmental guidelines that apply to our industry. We operate in a responsible manner with regard to the community and the use of natural resources. In developing our products and processes, we aim to improve both the quality of our products and develop procedures which are safe, sustainable and promote recycling of materials. We do all we can to reduce our impact on the environment: we break down the waste and emissions caused by our operations, and make use of raw materials, energy and other resources to the fullest possible extent. We communicate openly and honestly about our operations and quality policy while maintaining the confidentiality of our shareholders. We furthermore encourage our business partners to uphold these principles. We review our quality policy every year in a management review to ensure its continuing compatibility with our business concept.
Please feel free to contact us for any further information.