Cultivation/Production, Europe, UK, Ireland, Trade/Markets/Prices, Trends

UK: Suffolk’s potato sector shrinks as farmers’ costs rise

Suffolk’s potato growers are in the grip of a crisis of confidence as prices fail to keep pace with the costs they face, as Sarah Chambers reports for Many are choosing to cut their growing areas as market forces combined with disease and weather risks make the crop less viable.

James Wrinch, managing director at East Suffolk Produce – which has seven farmer members and trades with about 15 altogether – said the climate was tough for growers. They were feeling collectively “grumpy” about the situation. “It’s not fun at the moment,” he admitted.

Collectively, his group grows about 80,000t out of the UK total of around 5m tonnes – but overall they will be growing less this season, he said.

Farm Business Consultants Andersons’ latest Agflation estimates suggest farmers’ costs have risen 18.7% year-on-year, but the prices they are getting have gone up by an average of 11.1% – leaving a big gap.

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