More than 30 seed and table potato producers and processors from across Quebec have joined forces to dig up a new company.

Saint-Ambroise, Quebec-based Quebec Parmentier offers members a broad array of services, including distribution and marketing.

It was created by three growers and seed company Les Semences Elite du Quebec Inc., Pointe-aux-Outardes.

Producers, seed company to form new firmIn a news release, chief executive officer Pierre Chouinard said the group’s holdings have 6,000 acres of production and 1.3 million cwt. of advanced storage and packing facilities, all Canada GAP-certified.

This year’s harvest, their first as a group, is projected to be 1.6 million cwt.

“Our members boast more than 30 years of experience and expertise,” said Chouinard, former president of the Federation of Quebec Potato Growers, Longueuil.

Quebec Parmentier consists of two subsidiaries. SEQ Marketing Inc. coordinates commercial activities for seed potatoes, while Propur Inc. handles processing and other activities for table potatoes.

“Our production capacity, both for seed and table potatoes, gives us a significant advantage over any competitor,” he said.

Propur is looking at new value-added products and making private seed varieties available to members through exclusive agreements with international breeding houses.

Three staff agronomists offer growers personalized technical and production support.

By cutting out the middleman, Chouinard said the group gives customers a direct source for all their potato needs.

“Everyone always asks why growers don’t work together to create a one-stop shop for the chain stores,” said former QPMA president Robert Beauregard, who was hired by Quebec Parmentier as a consultant.

“Having all their needs met with one call saves customers time and money,” said Beauregard, who’s working on new packaging for the group, choosing new potato varieties and creating merchandising strategies for next season.

“One of their biggest strengths is that the producers are spread across the province,” he said, “which minimizes risk if one area has bad weather and guarantees a consistent supply to the customer.”

Chouinard said members are keen to develop markets within and outside Quebec and to create partnerships with foreign companies.