IFA to Hold National Meeting of Potato Growers

IFA President Tim Cullinan has announced that IFA will hold a national meeting for potato farmers in the Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport next Wed, Mar 15th at 7pm.

“The mood among potato farmers is at an all-time low, and we are facing an exodus similar to the vegetable sector if action is not taken urgently,” he said.

“Commercial potato farming is simply not viable this year with land rental, fertiliser, fuel and storage costs.  Many potato farmers will be forced out of business unless the packers and retailers are willing to increase returns to their farmer suppliers,” he said.

The Chairman of the National Potato Committee Sean Ryan said the upcoming potato season is hanging in the balance because of a broken food chain. IFA has pointed this out for the past 18 months, but we are at breaking point. Growers simply cannot afford to put crops in the ground this year if changes are not made.

“Shipments of potatoes have been exported to Portugal, with good demand for more Irish potatoes reported. It is a sad state of affairs when growers are forced to export potatoes because the cost of storage is unviable,” he said.

“Growers who are currently weighing up their options for plantings this year say the numbers are simply not stacking up for them. The pricing model is broken. Growers must be paid for the huge energy cost of storing potatoes from the time of harvest to ensure a continuous supply throughout the year. Potato farmers need the market to return a fair price that makes their farms viable, he concluded.

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