PotatoPotatoes Reports

Potato Council Report March 2021

Market Report  

  Low High Average 
Rooster box  €320 €380 €350 
Rooster 10 kg  €3.30 €3.80 €3.50 
Whites Box €300 €350 €320 
 Kerr Pinks €4.50 €5.00 €4.80 
Golden Wonder €4.80 €5.50 €5.20 

With the announcement of the revised ‘living with Covid’ document during the week it is likely that the processing market will remain supressed until the summer months. Retail demand remains positive and demand continues to tighten for quality packing material. Any hopes of planting in the south east last week were dashed as the weather changed significantly leaving ground conditions very poor across the country.  

In the U.K. demand is described as lacklustre, with the majority of movement on contract. Early plantings were also halted last week as weather conditions deteriorated.  

In Europe, prices in the fresh sector remain stable and demand for export is still slow. On the Futures market, there has been trading in all the forward positions this week and prices have moved higher. 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. 

Activity since last Council 

  • Members of the potato committee met with Minister McConalogue to raise issues concerning the potato seed sector, Diquat derogation, TAMS and PPP’s. The minister confirmed that potato haulm toppers would be included in the next TAMS. 
  • A National Potato Committee meeting took place online in January. Barry Delany DAFM was a guest speaker on Brexit related matters.  
  • IFA held two regional online potato meetings in February via Microsoft teams. Barry Delany, DAFM and Lorcan Bourke, Bord Bia were guest speakers. The main agenda items were Brexit, seed potato, market updates and potato promotions.  
  • The IFA potato stock survey results suggest that stocks are back 10 – 15% on this time last year. This will leave potato availability very tight as the season progresses.  
  • 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. 
  • A meeting on the potato promotions was held with all stakeholders in February. Year one of the campaign is now complete following a successful campaign in which 90% of millennials were reached through various social media outlets. The next activation of the campaign will begin in March. More info can be found on https://www.potato.ie/ 
  • IFA met with a number of retailers to discuss the upcoming season and convey growers increased input costs and issues around excessive tare levels. 
  • A meeting was held with Bord Bia to discuss remote audits for the SHAS and moves by some retailers to demand other QA schemes such as Global GAP. 

EU/COPA developments 

  • 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 participated in the Copa.Cogeca phytosanitary working party. DG SANTE updated the WP on phytosanitary issues. The revision of the Sustainable Use Directive and the Bee Guidance document in addition to specific plant protection issues in the different member states were  discussed. 

Upcoming Activity/Events 

  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices A meeting has been arranged with the Irish Potato Federation to raise these issues. 
  • 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.  
  • Potato Promotions – Year two of the campaign will begin in March.  Growers have received a letter to support this initiative and the potato committee are continuing to encourage growers to support the campaign. 
  • There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding potato storage equipment under TAMS and to invest in the seed potato sector. 
  • IFA will hold an Employment Seminar for the Horticulture sector with more information to follow on www.ifa.ie 
Thomas McKeown 
Niamh Brennan 
Policy Executive 
Patrick Farrell 
Senior Policy Executive 

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