Irish farmers are warning that the potato industry is under threat due to surplus imports and rising costs, Kevin O’Neill of the Irish Examiner reports.
Farmers have painted a bleak picture for the future of the spud at the recent National Potato Conference. The area of potatoes planted in 2019 was the second lowest on record, beaten only by 2018. Traditional varieties such as Kerr’s Pink and Golden Wonder have seen a further decrease in planting.
Bord Bia and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) are set to launch a €1.95m campaign to reinvigorate the image of the spud, targeting millennials in particular. It is the second such campaign they have run.
The campaign will focus on the nutritional content of potatoes.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said farmers continue to be the poor relation in the supply chain, and that retailers take the lion’s share of the profit margin on potatoes despite farmers bearing all of the risk.
At the National Potato Conference, Mr Cullinan warned that big changes are needed to secure the future of the industry. “Growers are coming under increased pressure due to rising input and storage costs and the continued decrease of phytosanitary [plant disease control] products available,” he said.