The Chairman of IFA’s Potato Committee Thomas Carpenter has signalled a strengthening potato market and is calling on all growers with stocks of potatoes to insist on a viable price for their produce.
IFA has conducted a survey of potatoes in stores, with the findings clearly showing that there is less than 10% of stock remaining with ten full weeks of old crop trading left this season. This supports the findings of a survey carried out last January that the current market is more in balance than in oversupply.
In addition, the market must take cognisance that main crop growers still have 40% of the new crop to plant as a result of the severe cold and wet weather experienced over the last month. On top of that, the growth of the early new crop has been severely affected by this weather.
Retailers are also reporting an increase in consumption in potatoes and fresh produce during the recent cold spell, which is out of character for the month of May. The UK market has experienced similar market conditions, resulting in an increase in the farm gate price in excess of €25/t in the past fortnight.
After a season of over production in 2010, growers reduced their plantings in 2011 by up to 13%. Very favourable growing conditions in 2011 produced higher than normal yields which created a short-term over supply for a period. IFA has called on growers to again reduce their plantings in 2012 by a further 20%.
Mr. Carpenter said “the excessive profiteering by retailers and packers must end and growers must get fair play. It is not acceptable that retailers drive primary producers into bankruptcy. Farmers need an immediate and significant increase to offset their losses and the market now provides for them to get this.”