During the first three months of 2020 Croatia imported 16,064 tonnes of potato seed, including new and mature table potatoes – all of which worth €8.03 million, almost half of the total value of potatoes imported in 2019, according to an analysis by the Smarter Consultancy company. CroatiaWeek reports.
It is said that Croatia imported 30,462 tonnes of all kinds of potatoes in 2019, worth in total €16.68 million.
In the first three months of 2020, Croatia imported seed potatoes in particular – 8,310 tonnes worth €5.33 million, which is more than in the entire 2019, when 8,171 tonnes of seed potatoes were imported, worth €6.08 million.
At the same time, the country exported 5,033 tonnes of other kinds of potatoes, worth €1.37 million.
“The continuing rise of imports of all kinds of potatoes shows that since the start of the year market surpluses in the EU have partly ended up on our market. The large imports of seed potatoes, of which Croatia lacks sufficient quantities for its own needs, could be an indicator that farm producers, fearing disruptions in the supply chain due to the coronavirus crisis, have resorted to imports which lead to more potatoes being planted this year,” said the consultancy, specialising in agriculture and food industry.
Smarter Consultancy notes that there is still no information on the final toal area planted with potatoes or of the expected yield. The highest total area planted with potatoes in recent years was 10,310 hectares during the 2014 cropping season, while last year potatoes were planted on an area of 9,387 hectares.
Last year’s yield was 173,149 tonnes, enough to provide about 80 and 85% of the local country demand.
Smarter Consultancy believes that it is necessary to consolidate farmland devoted to potato cultivation in Croatia, and at the same time increase yields per hectare – and furthermore give the potato crop the status of a special vegetable so as to create possibilities to apply for EU funding for the purchase of new machines, construction of modern storage facilities, and so forth.
The Consultancy is also of the opinion that the application of modern production and processing technologies, expansion of product lines, producer networking, establishment of appropriate market infrastructure and marketing activities are needed in Croatia.