Uncertainty in North-West Europe

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15 December 2020
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Uncertainty in North-West Europe

UNCERTAINTY surrounds the forthcoming season for potato demand in North-west Europe.

Demand fro the processing industry is low, with extremely decreased prices and this is unlikely to change in comig weeks, according to the North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG). 

The organisation says sprouting threats have also been reported by five member countries which could change the supply situation over the next few months. With it being the first season that CIPC has been banned, growers have been testing and experimenting other methods, but all NEPG countries report sprouting stocks and rising storage costs. Many free potatoes have already left the stores or will leave soon towards the export, cattle feed, starch industry and biogas.

The processing industry is currently working at around 80% of its usual capacity, as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak, and this situation is unlikely to change until representativeness of the European social partner organisations - hotels, restaurants and café (HORECA)- reopen. 

At the start of 2021 mainland growers and processors will negotiate about the contracts for the season 2021/22 and it is expected that fewer contracts will be signed. 

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The continental producers are facing greater technical and economic risks and increased societal demand for sustainability. Producers would like to meet these desires but fear that the additional costs of meeting this extra demand will not be covered, the organisation states.

On a more positive note, consumer research has revealed an increase in the home consumption of fresh potatoes, on average 11% and there has been a growth of exports of fresh potatoes to Africa. 

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