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COVID-19 impact: The Dutch need to move a ‘mountain of potatoes’

Potato growers are facing huge losses now restaurants and snack bars have closed their doors and compensation plans have not yet materialised, the NRC reports.

Now that the majority of restaurants, bars and fast food outlets worldwide have closed their doors to contain coronavirus, growers are looking at a stock of 1.5 million tons of potatoes, two thirds of which cannot be sold.

‘We’re hoping for financial compensation,’ André Hoogendijk of agricultural trade organisation BO Akkerbouw told the paper. Talks with agriculture minister Carola Schouten are ongoing but have, as yet, not resulted in a firm commitment to a compensation package, Hoogendijk said.

Schouten’s suggestion that the European Union could help out the potato sector will not have a great chance of success, he said, because the problem is mainly concentrated in the Netherlands.

‘Corona is impacting all sectors. Brussels is not going to regard this as a priority.’

The stagnating market is having a knock on effect on potato processing firms, such as Aviko, which produces some 15 million potato products in a normal week. ‘We want to honour our contracts with the growers but we won’t be able to process everything,’ Aviko sales manager Dick Zelhorst told the paper.


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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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