W35: Potato Update

In W35 in the potato landscape, according to data from the European Commission, the average potato yield in the European Union (EU) during the 2023 harvest season was approximately 34.4 thousand kilograms (kg) per hectare (ha). This figure represents a 3% decrease compared to the previous season, when the average yield was 35.3 thousand kg/ha. However, the 2023 potato production was 1% higher than the average yield over the past five years, which stood at 34.1 thousand kg/ha.

In 2023, the Netherlands and Poland experienced a decline in potato yields. In the Netherlands, the average potato yield was 40 thousand kg/ha, which is 3% lower than the average of the last five years and a 6% year-over-year (YoY) decrease, which was 42.6 thousand kg/ha. Poland faced even more significant reductions, with an average yield of 26.8 thousand kg/ha in the 2023 potato harvest. This represents a 3% decrease compared to the average production of the last five campaigns (27.8 thousand kg) and a substantial 13% YoY decrease when the average yield was 30.8 thousand kg/ha. On the other hand, Portugal's average potato yield in 2023 was 23.7 thousand kg/ha. This yield showed a 2% improvement compared to the average of the last five years, but it decreased by 1% YoY, which stood at 24 thousand kg/ha.

The Swiss potato sector is facing a challenging harvest year due to unfavorable weather conditions, including a wet spring and hot days, causing planting issues and delayed harvests. This marks the third consecutive difficult season for the industry in Switzerland, leading to frustration and some growers becoming reluctant to continue cultivation due to risks. To ensure sustainability, the industry must maintain grower enthusiasm and willingness to cultivate potatoes, preventing potential negative consequences for the Swiss potato market.

Moreover, potatoes in Ukraine have seen a 17% drop in purchase prices since the beginning of W35, with prices dropping to USD 0.16 to 0.25/kg. The price drop is due to the start of the potato harvest and increased market supply. Potato growers also report increased demand for quality potatoes, with even small potatoes now in low demand. Currently, potatoes in Ukraine are 10% YoY lower.

The Canary Islands are facing a possible shortage of potatoes due to the interruption in the supply of English potatoes due to Colorado potato beetle damage and uncertainties about the suspension's duration. England, the main exporter of potatoes to the archipelago, accounted for 86.37% of the Canary Islands' imports of vegetables, plants, roots, and potatoes in 2022. The Canary Islands government plans to compensate for the loss with imports from countries like Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, Libya, Malta, and Wales, to find alternatives within the United Kingdom, possibly in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

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