The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) have estimated that the overall consumption potato yields are on 5 years average level.
Due to the fact that the area has increased with 1,4 % compared to last year the total harvest can be estimated at 27,9 million tons compared with 26,9 million last year in the big 5(Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Great Britain).
This is with 3,8 % more than last year. A large harvest, with the actual situation, however not that large as the year 2017 with 29.6 million. After the heatwave in July and August, the crop is more aged than usual and less productive. Recent trial harvests are on average showing only 200 – 300 kg growing per day, which is extremely low.
The NEPG is also reporting large yield differences by the area over the 5 countries and also within the 5 countries.
The market is out of balance
COVID-19 with the lockdowns and much less worldwide demand from the foodservice market for potato products is the main reason. Demand from the retail market for potato products increased, however, not enough to cover the lack of demand from the Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering-industry. So, it is obvious that the actual balance between demand and supply is completely lost, also indicated by the actual prices for free potatoes and the future price indication. This applies mainly for processing potatoes.
The actual demand from the processing factories has increased again, however, not at the same level as before the Corona crises and factories seem to have enough frozen chips in cool stores, contracted potatoes and hardly need extra free raw material. The NEPG expects that the low prices for free potatoes could remain at a lower level at least till the end of the year or even longer. The market for fresh table potatoes is doing slightly better.
NEPG: Growers reduce your area, and save your precious soils for the future
The NEPG is advising their growers to take-over control and be actors of their own future. Growers across the NEPG should reduce next year’s area.
“It is no use to plant potatoes and receive low prices. Save your precious land for the future and set-aside or plant better crops (i.e. cereals for example) for your soils.”
It is time for risk management and careful cost price calculations. “Will the demand for processing potatoes return to the old level and how can we adjust the supply on this new situation?” should be the main criteria at the moment for the growers.