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Price boost potential for potato growers

The fall in the pound and issues with supply in Belgium and the Netherlands could boost processing potato prices


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Price boost potential for potato growers

Processing potato prices could provide a boost for British potato exports, according to AHDB.


The fall in the pound and issues with supply in Belgium and the Netherlands mean British processing potato prices are lower than their major European competitors.


Ex-farm values are about €70–€80/tonne (£63-£72/t) lower than comparable Belgian and Dutch quotes.


Arthur Marshall, market intelligence analyst at AHDB, said it was an unusual position for the British potato crop compared with previous years’ prices.


He said: "Last season, ex-farm prices for Belgian and Dutch processing varieties were either fairly similar or the GB price point was higher."


A tight supply in mainland Europe was keeping processing potato prices high.


Mr Marshall said: "Belgium is experiencing harvest delays, limiting the amount of nearby supplies available. Harvest reports for the week ending October 14 indicated the position as less than half complete, with the ground often too dry."

 

Pound


The falling pound has helped keep British prices relatively low compared to Belgian and Dutch processing potatoes, which could open up more opportunities for exporters.


He said: "This situation may encourage enhanced export activity from the UK as GB-produced potatoes prove a comparatively cheaper option for Northern European buyers, even after accounting for haulage costs.

 


"GB growers will be taking stock of their storage position at this point and judgments need to be made on pursuing exports in the short-term against being prepared to fulfil domestic markets in late spring."


Domestic prices for GB processing potatoes have held firm this season, with values higher than typical for this time of year. However, there are still several weeks of harvesting left.


The market will also be keeping a close eye on Eastern Europe, where in Poland, production levels are reported to be up 2 million tonnes compared to last season.


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