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Satisfactory end of the early potato season for Lower Saxony, Germany

Satisfactory end of the early potato season for Lower Saxony, Germany

The 2016 early potato season ended on the 10th of August. And according to the Lower Saxony Potato Producers Association the early potato harvest was satisfactory. At the end of February the seed potatoes could be planted without interruption, while in the large cultivation areas in Southern Germany the planting was often interrupted due to rain.

These interruptions influenced the harvest in the South somewhat and the early potatoes from Lower Saxony had a small lead on the market. However, the spring weather in the South of Germany was better than the cold, dry and windy weather in Lower Saxony. In 2015 the potato harvest was, by 10.37 million metric tons, not outstanding but satisfactory.

The Potato Producers Association in the Hannover/Burgdorf area joined forces to negotiate the best possible price for their produce. The producer association can act as an equal partner in negotiations with supermarkets. However, this year another problem occurred, because despite good quality and satisfactory prices of the Lower Saxony early potatoes some supermarkets rather sold potatoes grown in other states. Several supermarkets and discounters now emphasize regional products and as soon as regional potatoes are available the demand for the early potatoes from Lower Saxony declined. And if there was no demand for regional products the early potatoes from Lower Saxony had to compete with early potatoes from Israel, Egypt or Spain. 

Furthermore, there is a decrease in the unprocessed potato consumption. Pre-processed potato products such as French fries or mashed potatoes are easier to prepare. But for these products new potatoes are too expensive. Therefore, the producer's association recommends farmers to look for alternative marketing methods or to reconsider the cultivation of early potatoes in the long term. The acreage and the cultivated varieties must always be coordinated with the producers association. An uncontrolled increase in the hectares could cause a price collapse, fears CEO Joachim Hasberg.