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Irish potato farmers 'afraid' of pasta, rice and poor prices

49% of potato farmers in Ireland see competition from other carbohydrates such as pasta and rice as one of the biggest challenges facing the potato industry. Among the other major challenges to the sector listed were price, competition from imports and the loss of plant protection products.

These results came from a poll taken to gauge the feeling in the Irish industry and see what challenges farmers are most concerned about going forward at the National Potato Conference on Tuesday, February 18, organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Teagasc and Bórd Bia.

It should be noted that attendees were allowed to pick more than one option when taking the poll.

Respondent were asked: “What in your opinion is the biggest threat to the Irish potato industry into the future?” The results:

  • Competition from other carbohydrates such as pasta or rice – 49%;
  • Competition from imports – 17%;
  • Loss of plant protection products – 15%;
  • Supermarket domination of retail sales – 9%;
  • Over reliance on the variety Rooster – 6%;
  • Reliance on imported seed – 4%;
  • Brexit – 0%.

Finding a solution to the competition from pasta and 52% of attendees thought that more education was needed about nutrition, basic cooking skills and the value of potatoes in schools.

More social media and TV and radio exposure were also thought to be needed to promote potatoes, while 30% of farmers thought testimonials on potatoes from celebrities may also play a part in promotion.

An underwhelming 4% of respondents thought that they can do more to promote the product themselves.

Respondents were asked: “What are the three most important activities the industry can undertake to improve the promotion of potatoes?” The results:

  • More education in schools – 52%;
  • More use of social media articles – 48%;
  • More exposure on TV and radio – 46%;
  • Testimonials from celebrities – 30%;
  • In-store promotion – 22%;
  • It’s Bórd Bia’s job to do it so let them do it – 13%;
  • I can do more myself – 4%.

Read the full report in AgriLand here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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