Bart Nemegheer, Aardappelhoeve: "Surplus everywhere in Western Europe"
In the potato market, growers and traders live from day to day. "It's very unpredictable at the moment", Bart Nemegheer of the Aardappelhoeve laments. "Demand is good, but prices are far below par. There is too much supply, and I expect that will last a while yet. At least until the entire yield is harvested. Then we'll have to wait and see what happens. Will there be export, how will the potatoes hold? What is the influence on the market?"

Main harvest still in the field

He says harvesting is currently almost impossible due to the rain. "At the moment, about 20% of the total yield has been harvested, and it's not looking good. The ground is soaking wet. It's important to let them dry fully after harvesting, and only then can we start processing them. The main harvest is still in the field, so now we'll have to wait and see how the weather continues to develop. An Indian summer would be nice."

"Spring was good. The circumstances for planting and harvesting were ideal", he says, looking back. "Unfortunately, there were acreage expansions everywhere in Europe. Combined with good yields and the old harvest, which caused pressure for a long time, there was a surplus. Because there was more than foreseen, the end of last season was dramatic."

Job for the long haul

He expects the export to get going in a few months at the earliest. "Normally when everything has been harvested. And we will also have to wait a while if we want to play any part, volume-wise. Of course nothing can go to Russia at the moment. That doesn't improve market sentiment either, because such countries import thousands of tonnes. Everyone is calling for creating new markets for all the fruit and veg that normally goes to Russia, but that doesn't happen overnight. It's a job for the long haul, and for this year it won't solve anything. There's a potato surplus everywhere in Western Europe, and we have to find a way out of that. Nobody benefits when a product is so cheap."