AgronomyCrop ProductionWar in Ukraine Means Uncertainty for European Potato Industry

War in Ukraine Means Uncertainty for European Potato Industry

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Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month, potato markets in Europe have been somewhat resistant with uncertainty expected for the upcoming months, a March 21 news release from the North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says.

So far there has been no reasons for much change in free buy potato prices or sales of processed products in the European Union and abroad. The release notes processing activity in the NEPG zone is running at capacity.

However, there’s also uncertainty regarding frying oil availability and costs for the coming growing season. There are logistical difficulties for shipping and related higher costs, the release says.

High Production Costs Pushing Potato Acres Out

At the start of the year production costs for the 2022 growing season were expected to rise by 15 to 20 per cent, NEPG says. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine gas, petrol and electricity prices have jumped — making production costs rise by two, three or even four times.

It’s expected some area planned for potatoes will instead be planted with spring cereals, grain maize or sunflowers. The release notes some potato growers have already contracted processors who have they’ve signed contracts with asking for higher prices or more flexible conditions.

“All actors in the potato chain face higher production costs. To make sure that growers get a fair price, traders and processors should be able to sell packed or processed potatoes at higher price to the retail. And consumers will have to pay more too,” the release says.

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