In its weekly potato market update report, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says the potato market in Ireland is experiencing a mix of challenges and successes as the Christmas season approaches. Retailers and the food service sector are witnessing a robust demand for potatoes, reflecting the festive surge in consumer activity. This increased demand has led to corresponding adjustments in prices.
Despite this positive demand trend, farmers have faced significant challenges in crop harvesting due to unfavorable weather conditions over the past month. Reports indicate numerous issues in crop storage, largely attributable to the poor conditions during harvest. These complications are expected to reduce the saleable yield of various crops, presenting a setback for farmers.
The situation is not just local. Across parts of Europe, the drop in temperatures last week has introduced new hurdles. The cold weather is likely to increase wastage levels and may render some crops unsuitable for sale. Adding to the woes, heavy rainfall over the last two months has led to soil erosion from ridges, leaving crops exposed to risks of greening and frost damage.
The extent of the impact is notable in key agricultural regions in Europe. In North Eastern France, it’s estimated that about 3% to 5% of the crop remains unharvested. The situation is more acute in Belgium and Holland, where 5% to 10% and 10% to 15% of the crops, respectively, are still in the ground. These figures underscore the challenges faced by the agricultural sector in meeting the high market demand during this crucial period.