W45: Potato Update

In W45 in the potato landscape, the Swiss Potato Growers' Association (USPPT) predicts a significant decline of 3% year-over-year (YoY) in the potato harvest in 2023 due to the weather conditions in spring and summer, with too wet soils during sowing, causing potatoes to struggle to take root deeply and withstand the summer heatwave.

In Ireland, 60% of the Irish potato crop has been harvested already. The remaining 40% of the harvest depends on weather conditions over the next three to four weeks. Due to the heavy rains that have exceeded 200 mm over the past ten days, particularly in central and eastern Ireland, losses to the potato crop are expected. The potato quality may be affected by weather variations, such as a potential freeze on Nov-23.

The Belgian statistical agency reported a 29% YoY increase in potato production in Belgium due to a high harvest and optimal weather conditions in Jul-23 and Sep-23. Despite the delayed planting, the increased number of potato crops contributed to a significant yield increase of 23% YoY, leading to the overall production surge.

Due to reduced supply and increased demand from large wholesale companies and retail supermarkets, potato prices in Ukraine have risen by 17% week-on-week (WoW) to USD 0.22 to 0.34/kg (UAH 8 to 12/kg). Also, large potato producers are limiting potato sales, which incites price increases. The current season has a high percentage of substandard products unsuitable for long-term storage. Potatoes are 46% more expensive on average than in 2022, but most producers plan to continue increasing prices for high-quality potatoes.

Moreover, Ukraine has added two new Dutch potato varieties, Corazon and Spektra, to its State Register of Plant Varieties. Corazon is known for its early maturity, high yield, drought resistance, and red-skinned tubers. Spektra, on the other hand, is an early high-yielding variety with round-oval tubers and smooth yellow skin.

The possibility of supplying Ukrainian potatoes to Moldova is anticipated to decline until spring, when local potato reserves decrease, as the price of potatoes in Ukraine gradually rises, and the Ukrainian wholesale market offers potatoes at a 20 to 25% lower price compared to the Moldovan market. The Republic of Moldova's National Bureau of Statistics reports that the major Moldovan agricultural companies saw a notable rise in wholesale potato prices, with sales up 40.8% YoY.

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