UNPT: Acreage Reduced by 15%
In a recently published report, the UNPT (Union Nationale des Producteurs de Pommes de Terre) looked at how COVID-19 has profoundly changed the conditions of the 19/20 and 20/21 campaigns. For the current campaign, UNPT says industrial activity has picked up, but remains at an average rate of 85% compared to last year and the organization does not expect it to return to pre-crisis levels for several months. The surfaces under contract for the 21/22 season are thus expected to decline.
As a reminder, UNPT notes that a production just 1% above the level of demand generates a decrease in valuation for the producer of -7%, according to an Integrated Development of Agriculture and Rural Institutions (IDARI) study from 2018. On the fresh market, the crisis provided a boost in terms of household consumption, but it is not enough to call for an increase in planted surface areas in 2021, says UNPT.
Considering this context, the UNPT recommends that producers retain only the profitable outlets, reduce their 2021 plantings of ware potatoes and consolidate their surface in cereals or starch potatoes. The recommendation follows a similar report from the NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers), which also called on producers to reduce their 2021 potato acreage. The uncertainty concerning the return of demand for industrial potatoes and the adjustment of the level of supply are the two main considerations for producers. In this context, it is therefore their responsibility to assess their production risk and precisely analyze the associated (often increasing) costs, the UNPT concludes.