“A challenging season awaits ahead where every potato will be needed”

Week 21 kicked off this year’s early potato harvest with the first harvests of early, peeled potatoes for home sale. However, the first programs with skin-resistant potatoes will not come into retail until week 26/27, expects Thomas Herkenrath (right), company director Fritz Jungnickel from Neuss and chairman of the ‘Deutsche Kartoffelhandelsverband’ (DKHV). He spoke to us about the upcoming season, the current sales of imported potatoes and the future of the German potato sector.

A look at potato cultivation in Andalusia

The potato shops are currently still well stocked in some regions, says Thomas. “Especially in the north, there are still some stocks with a high proportion of potatoes of a quality that the retail trade generally no longer wants to sell. However, there may still be demand from the peeling companies and in the export market, and it is a good idea that there is a large proportion of potatoes of a quality. ” for example, in Poland, which now receives numerous refugees from Ukraine who need to be provided with food. “Domestic consumption is weak, which suits the season. This is mainly due to the high temperatures and the May holidays.” However, we should not compare current consumption with the two pandemic years, where we were able to achieve a sales increase of up to 20 percent, especially at the beginning of the crisis period. Compared to the time before the corona, current demand is pretty average to slightly below average. “

The switch to imported potatoes from the Mediterranean is imminent
Meanwhile, imported potatoes from the Mediterranean are now being traded a little more smoothly. “Stocks of the old crop, especially in southern Germany, are already depleted, so people are completely dependent on stocks. Egypt and Israel are still dominating the market at the moment, the first programs with Spanish retailers have been underway for about a week. “In early June, many will completely change from Egypt to Spain.”

“Unlike imports from Israel and Egypt, the early Spanish potatoes are processed immediately after harvest sold. One can therefore rightly speak of fresh early potatoes. The production volume of export potatoes in Egypt and Israel has been too high for some years, which has put pressure on prices in Europe. Just when the import season was ending, excess quantities were still in the cold stores and had to be sold. In recent years, however, the cultivation planning of these potatoes has improved significantly. This year, market observers see little need for adjustments in the future. ”

According to Thomas, a more sensible and sustainable season planning is generally desirable. “We make it through May with potatoes from Germany or neighboring countries, and we need extra potatoes from Israel and Egypt from February to May. Only then do the early potatoes come from Spain until we can start again with German skin-resistant potatoes.”

After the end of the Spanish sales season, the German early potatoes are increasingly emerging. There is no reason to hurry, because even though no concrete figures are available so far, according to Thomas, a decrease in the area for potatoes in Germany must be assumed. “A challenging season is approaching where every potato is needed.”

Is self-sufficiency at stake?
“Due to the Ukraine crisis, grain cultivation is becoming increasingly interesting for growers. In addition, there is a quality risk in potatoes due to the high demands of the trade. In the future, there is a danger that growers will increasingly focus on growing other Vi should not endanger our high self-sufficiency in German potatoes, ”warns Thomas.

For more information:
Dipl.-Ök. Thomas Herkenrath
Fritz Jungnickel GmbH & Co. KG
Josefstrasse 120 – 122
D-41462 Neuss, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 2131 56856 0

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