On National Potato Day, IFA President Tim Cullinan has called on consumers, retailers and the foodservice sector to support Irish potato growers.
“It’s a critical indigenous sector, worth €111m at the farm gate. 400 growers plant over 8,000 hectares annually. They supply high quality, nutritious produce to Irish consumers throughout the year,” he said.
“Potatoes are synonymous with Irish culture and it’s important that the sector is safeguarded. Irish growers have encountered a number of challenges over the last 18 months in terms of COVID-19, Brexit and increased input costs,” he said.
The planted acreage this year is similar to 2020, which was a historically low level. With yields expected to be just average, the market is balanced regarding supply and demand.
He said, “The foodservice sector, in particular, must check the origin of the potatoes it uses. Imports undermine the Irish market. By choosing Irish, you are supporting vital jobs in the rural economy”.
IFA Potato Chairman Thomas McKeown said the year had been challenging for growers, particularly those supplying the volatile foodservice sector.
“If the current situation has taught us anything, it’s the importance of supporting local producers. Growers have absorbed all of the extra costs associated with additional measures required on farms. Growers must be encouraged to continue producing high-quality crops at a fair price that sustains production.”
This year’s National Potato Day, organised by Bord Bia Bia, is showing consumers that when it comes to delicious meals; “it all starts with potatoes”.
Bord Bia have enlisted brand ambassadors including leading Performance Nutritionist Daniel Davey on how potatoes fuel their lives. A suite of new recipes is available online to help people expand their cooking skills.