The volume of the Belgian potato harvest was disappointing this season, resulting in high prices. “Prices have been stable now for a while already, but that makes sense because there is hardly a free market system. The current potatoes almost all go to industry, so there is not much left to trade. This season will probably have volumes that are too low to meet demand from the industry,” Bart Nemegheer sums up the current market situation.
To prevent a shortage, the industry is already hard at work preparing for the new season. “People are trying to plant early in the French Bordeaux region, in order to be able to harvest early as well. The starting moment of the new season is of great importance, for price development as well. Every chips factory or potato processor is currently working on it. There is also import from other countries, but in the end, they will not be able to meet demand either. We cannot keep up with the global demand for potatoes and potato products.”
The Belgian processing capacity increased sharply in recent years. “It costs a lot of money to stop production lines, so everyone is looking for potatoes in order to keep them going. It is expected that industry prices will increase somewhat. After everyone has met their contract obligations, there probably will not be much left over for the free market.”