(Interfax-Ukraine) â€“ Ukraine today has a total potato storage capacity of 300,000 tonnes. The minimum required capacity to meet domestic needs is to store 1.5 million tonnes, according to the Director of the Ukrainian Association of Potato Producers Oksana Ruzhenkova.
“Today, Ukraine has 300,000 tonnes of potato storage facilities. Over the past five years, 350,000 tonnes of storage facilities have lost their usability. The domestic demand is for at least 1.5 million tonnes,” she said during a press conference held at Interfax-Ukraine.
According to Ruzhenkova, this year the state plans to allocate UAH 400 million from the budget for the development of horticulture, and under this program, potato producers see the potential for using funds to put towards the construction of storage facilities. [ UAH100 = â‚¬3.80 ]
“If about UAH 200 million is left for our needs [out of the total amount of funds under the gardening program], we will be happy. We will build potato storages for 100,000 tonnes and Ukraine will be able to at least slightly reduce the deficit. To build some 100,000 tonnes of storages from scratch need about EUR23 million, and we can build it based on estimates of the association,” she said.
She noted that until 2014, domestic potato consumption in Ukraine was estimated at 7 million tonnes. Now it is estimated to be about 4.5 million tonnes, with production standing at 20 million tonnes. Some 95% of potatoes are grown in home gardens.
The potato processing capacity in Ukraine is only about 250,000 tonnes of potatoes each year. Ukraine exports small volumes mainly to Moldova, imports about 270,000 tonnes from the Russian Federation and Belarus.