Turkish-based agri-food company AR Tarim is using a novel potato storage system to store its seed potatoes.

The company is a mass importer and producer of seed potatoes to supply Turkish markets.

It imports around 8,000t of seed each year while producing around 11,000t locally.

AR Tarim stores the potatoes in a unique 1,000-year-old cave storage facility located in Kayseri.

The company says the cave storage facility has a “natural way “of storing potatoes.

With little energy demands, the cave’s design naturally provides good storage conditions throughout the year.

Ambient temperatures of 4°C in winter and 14°C in summer are easily achieved, even when outside temperatures can reach up to 35°C.

Tech solutions

“We had come across some quality issues,” explains managing director Ekrem Suad Sadak.

Potato bruising was a particular problem for the team.

However, the introduction of modern quality control measures to complement the cave’s storage conditions allowed the company to improve the quality of the stored produce.

Entrance to the cave storage facility.

It uses a number of technology solutions to help achieve this, including a data logger disguised as a potato, which identifies the location and severity of tuber damage, typically caused by impacts during harvesting and handling machinery.

It also regularly uses a hotbox, a sealed cabinet that exposes tubers ready for storage to both humidity and heat to test for disease, infections and bruising to help identify problems.