In a press release issued on February 6, the NEPG (North-western European Potato Growers) says that it expects a shortage of seed potatoes for the coming production season, mainly for processing varieties. Without a signed contract, it can be very difficult for an individual grower to get seed potatoes.
Despite the higher contract prices that the processing industry offers, the total planted acreage can not expand much if sufficient seed potatoes are not available. More double purpose varieties for the table market and the starch industry can be used for processing, such as was the case the past few months already, to offset the low yields of the 2018 harvest.
The NEPG further says in the release that in all its member countries the stock at hand for consumption potatoes is lower than last year, and also lower than the 5-year average. Quality problems were experienced in some cases, although those problem lots are now being dealt with and the remaining stocks are of relative good quality.
The NEPG expects the current high price level to continue this winter and spring. The time when planting will start this season can have a marked effect on the mood in the market. A late start of planting in Northwest Europe can push the market price up, because the stocks are low and processors will have to rely longer on raw material from the 2018 harvest to keep running. A very early spring, on the other hand, can put a damper on the high price level. At present, € 30 per ton for the mainland seems to be the minimum price on the free market.
The full NEPG press release can be found in the Dutch language here. At the time of writing this news item, an English version was not available on the NEPG website [Lukie].