Price of potatoes in Poland remains low
Potato prices remain low in Poland. The average price on wholesale potato markets in the pre-holiday period was 0.53 PLN/kg*, compared to 0.49 PLN/kg in the same period of the previous year. Domestic potatoes in Bronisze, like a month before, reached a price of 0.40-0.55 PLN/kg; in Poznań they stood at 0.47-0.67 PLN/kg; in Lublin, at 0.60 PLN/kg; in Rzeszów, at 0.60-0.80 PLN/kg; in Wrocław, at 0.50 PLN/kg and in Łódź at 0.33-0.67 PLN/kg, reports Wiesław Dzwonkowski, of IERiGŻ.
The Central Statistical Office of Poland estimated the country's potato acreage in 2017 at over 0.3 million hectares; i.e. 6% more than in 2016. The yields amounted to 289 dt/ha and were about 4 dt/ha higher than in the previous year; i.e. up 1%. Despite the difficulties with the harvesting, the production of potatoes was estimated at approximately 9.5 million tonnes, i.e. 7% more than in 2016.
"Potato production in the EU-28 in 2017 amounted to approximately 62.1 million tonnes and was over 5 million tonnes greater than in 2016, i.e. by over 9%. Producers of French fries and crisps in Western Europe have a sufficient amount of raw material obtained under contracts; therefore, the demand for potatoes for food processing in the free market is very low. The prices of fresh potatoes, whose supply significantly exceeds the market demand, are also very low, according to Wiesław Dzwonkowski.
The potato harvest in France, which is the largest exporter of potatoes for fresh consumption, increased by over 15%; as a result, additional surpluses went to countries of Southern and Central and Eastern Europe, thus putting additional pressure on local markets. Germany also has large surpluses of potatoes, but there are problems with the quality of the tubers in that country. The consequence of such a significant increase in the harvest volume has been a large drop in potato prices in Western Europe.
According to the IERiGŻ report, this applies in particular to tubers for processing, but also to potatoes intended for fresh consumption. The prices of potatoes for processing in futures contracts for April are below 50 Euro/tonne, while in the previous season in that period they amounted to around 250 Euro/tonne.
Low prices should stimulate the growth of potato consumption; however, according to the experience of previous years and recent months, the decline in retail prices of potatoes in Western Europe does not translate into increased consumption.
*1 PLN = 0.24 Euro/0.30 US$