Potato Council Report April 2021
|Rooster 10 kg||€3.30||€3.80||€3.50|
Retail demand was buoyant over the Easter period and the food sector service continues to trade at a minimum. There was good early planting progress over the past week, although growth rates are hampered as it remains very cold over night with sub-zero temperatures. Reports indicate that Kerr Pinks and Records varieties are very scarce and commanding a premium price.
In the U.K. plantings are progressing well following a period of warmer weather. The easing of lockdown restrictions across England this week, alongside good weather seen by many, has energised some demand for chipping potatoes.
Across Europe, another series of lockdowns is stifling demand and the main processors are keeping their requirements almost solely to contracts. Despite improved sales, prices in the fresh sector are showing signs of downward pressure as growers push for sales. It is estimated that stocks in the five main producer countries in North West Europe – which includes the U.K. – are 900,000 tonnes higher than last year.
Activity since last Council
- The Potato Development Group held a specialist supply chain meeting for the supply of seed potato on March 30th involving all stakeholders. The meeting began the process of looking at the seed supply chain and how it can be developed in the short and medium term.
- IFA wrote to Minister Charlie McConalogue outlining the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and requesting financial support to be put in place for the potato sector, similar to the scheme applied in Northern Ireland in response to the pandemic.
- An IFA delegation met with the Potato Federation to discuss the upcoming season, potato promotion and seed supply issue.
- IFA met with DAFM on potato equipment inclusion under TAMS, it was confirmed that haulm toppers would be included in the next tranche of TAMS.
- IFA held an Employment Seminar for the Horticulture Sector on March 31st at which the new IFA Employment Service was launched. Guest speakers included James Staines-Staines Law, Jerome Forde-Hr Duo and Stewart Gavin-FBD. More information on the IFA Employment Service can be found on https://www.ifa.ie/employment-law-resources-for-ifa-members/
- A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA continue to engage with DAFM on this.
- The first activation of the potato promotions has begun. The events will be similar to last year focussing on influencer content and potato recipes. IFA continue to attend stakeholder meeting to progress the promotion.
- IFA continues to engage with all retailers to discuss the upcoming season and convey growers increased input costs and issues around excessive tare levels.
- IFA met with DAFM Pesticide Control Division to discuss the use and authorisation of Diquat and various other pesticides.
- IFA led a campaign against the branding policy by retailers. They are using their own brands to drive down the prices they pay to their suppliers. These brands displace well-established ones that return a higher margin to farmers.
- The E.U. has declined a request for “equivalence” regarding the export of seed from the U.K to Europe. The decision has been challenged and an application for “substantial equivalence” is now being pursued. IFA continue to lobby on this matter.
- IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices.
- IFA will continue to contact growers to ensure they are aware of the costs of production and to only plant for their markets in 2021.
- There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding potato storage equipment under TAMS and to invest in the seed potato sector.
- IFA will begin the second stock survey of the year in early April. Growers are encouraged to reply at their earliest convenience to ensure the results are timely.
- The 2021 European potato promotions have begun. Growers have received a letter to support this initiative and the potato committee are continuing to encourage growers to support the campaign.
- IFA will be lobbying to include the sectors of horticulture affected by Brexit in the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund announced by the EU.
|Thomas McKeown |
|Niamh Brennan |
|Patrick Farrell |
Senior Policy Executive