Across Regions, Cultivation/Production, Europe, UK, Ireland, News May 2024, Sustainability, Trends, Weather/Climate

Spuds in crisis: Climate change hits European and global potato industry

Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are wreaking havoc on potato crops worldwide, driving up prices and leaving farmers in a precarious situation. Heavy rainfall and flooding have resulted in reduced yields, lower quality tubers, and increased disease pressure, according to a Bloomberg report published by the South China Morning Post.

European potato farmers are facing severe challenges. In the UK, flooding has damaged crops, while in Belgium and the Netherlands, drought has taken its toll. The European Union’s potato crop has seen a significant decline, leading to concerns about food security. English white potato prices are up 81 per cent year-over-year, an all-time high, according to one data provider.

In the Netherlands and Belgium – two key regions that grow processing potatoes for fries – were the worst affected, with Dutch processing potato prices at their highest level recorded for April, at €370 (US$398) per metric ton.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of potatoes failed to make it to market in Europe in 2023, a region that eats about 90kg per capita per year – the world’s highest.

The impact is not limited to the Northern Hemisphere. In Africa, potato farmers are struggling with changing weather patterns, leading to reduced yields and lower quality tubers. In South America, drought has affected potato crops, leading to a shortage of seed potatoes for the next planting season.

The global potato industry is feeling the effects of climate change, with prices skyrocketing and farmers facing significant financial losses. The situation is dire, with many farmers questioning their ability to continue producing potatoes in the face of a changing climate. As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, the potato industry is feeling the effects firsthand, leaving many to wonder what the future holds for this staple crop.

The consequences of climate change on potato production are far-reaching, affecting not only farmers but also consumers and the global food supply chain. As the industry struggles to adapt to the new reality, one thing is clear: the impact of climate change on the potato industry is a wake-up call for the world to take action.

Source: Bloomberg via South China Morning Post. Read the full story here
Image: Credit Holger Langmaier from Pixabay

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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