2021 NEPG’s Potato Planting Areas are Going Down
The four countries of North-Western European Potato Growers (Germany, Belgium, France, and The Netherlands) are facing a decline of potato planting areas totalizing -4.7%, with France accounting -3.0% out of the total.
Final potato production, as per North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG)’s experts, is expected to vary between 6.4 and 6.9 million tons for ware potatoes.
“It would feed the different markets, French, as well as international,” the experts said.
A recent press release indicates that while the early potato season ended in mid-August, the first elements available, thanks to samples taken by the UNPT on 240 plots in the main production regions, report, to date, a similar performance context, to the five-year average (2016-2020).
Concerning the starch sector, the samples taken in plots carried out by the NEPG-GIPT (Groupement Interprofessionnel pour la Valorisation de la Pomme de Terre) show a slightly lagging growth, but satisfactory production potential.
Strong Permanent Mildew Pressure and a Significant Increase in Costs
This new production campaign is indeed characterized by disease pressure (mildew in particular) never observed before. Fortunately, most producers will be able to save their productions thanks to the implementation of combinations of synthetic molecules.
On the other hand, the producers engaged in very restrictive specifications or organic farming are strongly impacted by the drop in production and sometimes its total loss. Producers say they cannot assume these losses and additional costs alone. According to them, the increases in the various costs must therefore be imperatively passed on throughout the food chain.
“We need a strong sector that must-have innovations in the field of protection of plants and genetics to secure yields. There are solutions! The UNPT calls on policymakers to be pragmatic so that we now and in the future, we have innovative solutions to fight against mildew and new risks linked to climate change. Within 5 years, if we do not move the lines, potato producers will be deprived of agro-climatic risk management tools, this will be a real threat to their income and activities, as well as to our food sovereignty,” said NEPG’s experts.