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Washington State potato losses top $1 billion, according to study

Total losses from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the Washington State’s potato industry is estimated to top $1 billion, according to a study by Washington State University, reports Kris Koger in an article published by The Packer.

The Washington State Potato Commission requested the study, conducted by the university’s IMPACT Center of the School of Economic Sciences, according to a news release from the commission.

The pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, particularly in the foodservice sector, where French fries made from frozen potatoes and russets grown for restaurants for baked potatoes went unsold.

Farmers have lost about $29.2 million from the drop in demand and quality of the 2019 harvest, according to the release. Acreage for the 2020 fall harvest dropped 13%, which represents a drop of more than 729,000 tons of potatoes, according to the commission.

The net effects from the acreage drop resulted in $270.4 million lost productivity, according to the release, and potato processors have suffered $714 million in lost productivity as well.

Source: The Packer. Read the full report here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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