NL: “Weather has great influence in the potato market

The 2010 potato year will be talked about for many years. The cold spring, hot summer and wet autumn have had a lot of influence on production. The yield per hectare is smaller in 2010 than the long-term average, because the potatoes were planted late and have had less favourable weather. The area of consumption potatoes on clay has risen a little in 2010 (+3%) to 50,985 hectares. In certain areas of Holland not all potatoes were harvested due to the wet autumn. Finally the harvest in 2010 will be 10% smaller than in the year before. This was analysed by Thijs Pons of ABN-Amro in the new ‘Agrarisch Nieuws’ that was published by the bank.

The quality of the potatoes is lower due to the late harvest. It’s unclear how good the storability of the potatoes that were harvested under wet conditions will be. In Germany, the United Kingdom and France the production has declined. Despite the large increase in area, the production in Belgium also shows a decrease. Ultimately the harvest in the five most important potato producing countries in the EU is over 8% lower than in 2009

The potato processing industry has imported many potatoes for processing in the past few months. The companies didn’t contract enough potatoes for the 2010/11 season to use the processing capacity to its fullest. More potatoes also have to be bought at home and abroad. The industry is waiting to see how the potato market will develop.

The marketing possibilities for potatoes on markets abroad are good at the moment. Russia is an important buyer of Dutch potatoes, because the harvest partially failed. For phytosanitary reasons the export to Russia is not just direct, but also through Belgium and Poland. Besides this the export to Germany and the United Kingdom shows a large increase. A number of factors has led to a higher price level in the autumn of 2010: the smaller production in the most important potato producing countries in West-Europe, the uncertainty whether all potatoes could be harvested, the question of quality and storability and the large demand from abroad. It is expected that the mood on the potato market in coming months will be firm, partially because the potato processing industry will buy extra potatoes besides the contracted potatoes, to optimally use the processing capacity.

Source: Agrarisch Nieuws, ABN-Amro