Potato manufacturers in the Netherlands are approaching the four million tonnes of processed potatoes mark annually.
From March 2016 to February 2017 3.942 million tonnes of potatoes were processed into consumer products in the Netherlands.
Processing figures from the Dutch Organization of Potato Merchants (Nederlandse Aardappel Organisatie, NAO) shows that 334,000 tonnes of potatoes have been processed in the Netherlands in February 2017. Last year in the same month, the processing volume stood at over 306,000 tonnes.
With an average processing volume of 340,000 tonnes of potatoes per month, the mark of four million tonnes will be reached around next summer, says Hylke Brunt, general secretary of the Dutch Potato Processors’ Association (Vereniging voor de Aardappelverwerkende Industrie, VAVI).
“Reaching this milestone is a direct result of the investment by the Dutch potato industry in capacity expansion,” he notes.
Dutch processors have made 2.252 million tonnes of finished product of the total 3.942 million tonnes of potatoes in the past 12 months.
The processing efficiency is 57.1 per cent, three per cent higher than in the period from March 2015 to February 2016.
According to Brunt, this is an indication that manufacturers use their raw material more efficiently.
“Furthermore, it is a result of increased underwater weight of potato harvest in 2016 and the average long tubers that give less loss in the process,” says Brunt.
More than 160,000 tonnes in last month’s processed potatoes in the Netherlands came from abroad. The 47.9 per cent share of foreign supply is thus considerably higher than the 36 per cent in February 2016.
Raw material from abroad
VAVI does not believe this is a trend. Processing figures from last fall show the share of foreign processed product was less than the year before. One explanation is that potato producers in 2016 had more access to Dutch potatoes grown on sand. In recent months, the Dutch industry comparatively used more potatoes from Belgium.
For next year VAVI expects the acreage to remain stable at just over 70,000 hectares. There is barely room for more potatoes, says Brunt. “The starting point is an area of arable land of just over 500,000 hectares. The expansion of production volumes at existing growers will have to come mainly from higher yields per hectare.”