Farmers feed the world


About me

In 1983 I was born in the north of The Netherlands. Growing up on a farm meant that farming was the discussion of the day, each day. This sort of "virus" is very infectious, and it didn't take long before I was fully interested in farming. 

In the column below you can read about my working experience. 

1997 - 2010

Working on family farm
Mts. Nammensma
In the north of The Netherlands my parents own a 70ha farm. They grow seed potatoes for HZPC, onions, wheat and barley and sugar beets. During my school period I always worked on this farm. Doing all kinds of work, like planting, harvesting and fertilizing.  

Beside the seed potato production we grow a small area of fries potatoes. This variety Innovator is used by McCain for their McDonalds fries. This type of potato production is different compared to the seed potatoes, but after discussing demands and request from McCain we are able to deliver the best quality to them.

2007 - 2010

Sales manager Grimme Netherlands

Grimme Landmaschinen Fabrik
In 2006 I received my bachelor degree. To gain experience outside the family farm, I started working for Grimme machine factory in Germany in January 2007. The first 8 months I traveled around the world, and been in countries like Egypt, Denmark, Finland, Canada, Germany etc to start up new delivered equipment for potato planting and harvesting. After those 8 months, I started in Holland as a sales manager. In this role it was not only about selling equipment. Together with one colleague we developed a new dealer network in the Netherlands. In one year we increased the turnover in Holland from 8 million in 2006 to 14 million in 2007. Until 2010 we increased the turn over every year. 

Also advising clients and having a dialog with them about the development of potato growing. This includes observation of soil types, areas, type of markets where the farmer is growing for and so on. Only if you first speak about development, you can advise the right machinery for the client.

2010 – 04.2014

Director potato technology

Mriya Agro Holding
But because I grew up on a farm, and farming is in a man’s blood, I looked for possibilities to farm somewhere. In the end of 2009 a large Ukrainian Agro Holding asked me to come work for them, and expand the potato area. In 2009 this was 1.000ha.

I started working in 2010, and we grew 1.400ha of potatoes by that time. In 2013 we expanded to 5.000 ha and in 2014 the total area was 6.400ha. Quality and yields have been improved since.
Being in charge of potato technology meant that I was responsible for the complete “outdoor” and “indoor” aspects of potato farming. This includes choosing the right fields for potato production, type of soil preparation, fertilizing, which varieties for which markets, all the equipment for the whole process and so on. 

Because of the changing market of Ukraine, the demand of small bags was needed, to sell potatoes in supermarkets. In 2013 it was that I implemented this equipment in the storage facilities to pack in 5 – 10 and 20 kg poly bags. This was without washing, because of the sticky black soil Ukraine has.

For the crisps production Kraft foods was the biggest client. Their demands and our needs had to be discussed every year, to make the cooperation successful. Big companies do have big demands, and because of the large scale it was needed to document all aspects of fertilizing, planting, cropping etc. in advance. Also during the season some things might change. The importance of having a dialog is high, so no claims or quality issues would occur at the end of the season.

06.2014 – now

Self employed

Different projects in Europe, Russia and South America

  • Black earth farming, Lipetsk region, Russia
  • Kobelt Gemüse, Marbach, Switserland
  • Grimme Belgium, Houthem, Belgium
  • Several potato growers in Chile
  • Several potato growers in Holland

Willem Nammensma