The latest sectoral report from the Institute of Agricultural Economics (AKI) has revealed a continued decline in Hungary’s potato yield for the year 2023, marking another challenging year for the agricultural sector, according to a report by Agroberichten Buitenland.
Following a 17% year-over-year decrease in 2022, with a harvest of 199.2 thousand tons, the total yield for 2023 has fallen to 161.5 thousand tons. The total area planted was 5,830 hectares.
Agrárszektor.hu, a leading agriculture news portal in Hungary, has reported on the troubling trend, attributing the decline in the potato sector to a variety of economic factors. High labor costs, difficulties with irrigation, a shortage of effective plant protection agents, and unpredictable market demand, particularly for seed potatoes, are among the primary challenges facing Hungarian potato farmers.
The impact of these challenges is also reflected in the country’s import and export figures. In the period from January to August 2023, Hungary’s potato imports decreased by 13%, amounting to 38.2 thousand tons. France, Hungary’s largest trade partner in this sector, saw a 22% decrease in its exports to Hungary, delivering 21.2 thousand tons. The Netherlands, the second-largest exporter to Hungary, also experienced a decline, with its exports dropping by 18% to 5.55 thousand tons.
Furthermore, Hungary’s own potato exports have not been immune to these challenges, witnessing a significant 28% fall to 2.73 thousand tons. This decrease in both import and export volumes is a clear indicator of the struggles within the sector.
The economic impact of these agricultural challenges is directly hitting consumers. In Week 45 of 2023, the price of potatoes on the Budapest Commodity Market soared to €1.85 per kilogram, representing a staggering 45% increase year-over-year. This price hike is a direct consequence of the reduced supply and the increased costs of production.