On 10 September, the Northwestern European Potato Growers Association (NEPG) released figures about the potato harvest in that part of the world. These figures are an estimate based on several trial diggings. The result?
The yield is estimated at between 27 and 27,3 million tons of potatoes. This is three percent higher than the five-year average and twelve percent more than last year. How do traders view the new season?
“Prices are moderate at the moment,” says Adrie Amperse of Amperse Handelsmij from Kortgene, in the Dutch province of Zeeland. “Last year’s high prices and continuous demand from the industry have led to areas being expanded in Western Europe this year. The percentage of contract cultivation has also grown this year, which means there is little competition, and fewer buyers, on the free market.”
“Are the prices favorable?” asks Adrie Kleinjan of Kleinjan’s Aardappelhandel from Nieuw-Beijerland in the Netherlands. “That depends on how you look at it. There are enough good export chances for the new season, and the demand from the french fry industry is offering ample opportunity for a good year,” says this trader.
Since it is so dry in that part of the world, Eastern Europe is buying more potatoes this season.
“In the Netherlands, the dry weather was periodic, and conditions differed greatly from region to region. However, this year, we are sitting at above the five-year average, and that offers good prospects. But, it does not matter how much we have; what matters is how much we can move. And at the moment, that is enough,” says Kleinjan.
“It is actually still too early to make a harvest estimation for the coming potato season,” says Johan Kant of Kalisa Trading from Sint-Niklaas in Belgium. “I would only be able to draw a conclusion about this season in mid-October. For now, I can only give an interim report.”
“I find the question of what the prices will do in the new potato season to be a difficult question to answer,” says Johan. “In Northwestern Europe, the current effective price is at around €10-12. That is considerably better than prices in the 2017 season.
Despite the large area we have this year, there has never been as big an area of table potatoes planted in Europe as is now the case. In the Netherlands, the season is somewhat similar to the one in 2017.”