Portugal: Potato growers express frustration and desperation because of low producer prices

Vilarinho do Bairro: Price of potatoes paid in production leaves producers desperateMany potato growers in Portugal reportedly have their hands in their hair because of the low producer prices currently paid for their potatoes. According to a news story published on the Portuguese language website Jornal da Bairrada, two potato growers from the Vilarinho do Bairro, who were interviewed by Jornal da Bairrada recently, agree that there is a total lack of any price stability or security for potato growers in Portugal, and this often leaves growers at the mercy of market fluctuations and often prices that are below farmers’ input cost. A young farmer from Torres, Miguel Martins says that although he is passionate about potato growing, he feels saddened and taken aback by the current state of affairs. Martins believes that the wider public need to be much more informed about the actual price paid to farmers by wholesalers and supermarket chains.

He says consumers pay substantially more for potatoes for sale on retail shelves. He notes that the current price of only 4 to 5 cents per kilo is a far cry from 10 to 12 cents per kilo that farmers need to only cover their production cost. He blames huge margins by supermarkets for this discrepancy.

One of Martins’ neighbours, who grows potatoes on 60 hectares, estimates a loss of close to 100,000 Euros this year because of the low producer prices. “The production of potatoes leaves me psychologically shaken,” he says. “I told my son to go find another job, because potato growing just isn’t worth it.”

Read the story in the Portuguese language on Jornal da Bairrada