Switzerland: COVID-19 Makes Potato Imports Necessary
Ruedi Fischer, president of the Swiss Potato Producers Association said that Swisspatat has applied to the Federal Office for Agriculture for an additional import quota of 8000 tons of table potatoes, beginning from April 1. Due to the SARS-COV2 crisis, additional quantities are needed at short notice, and advised that procurement will probably not be easy.
“The creation of an emergency stock, cooking at home, no more shopping or tourism are reasons why potato sales have increased in the meantime. However, the market for industrial goods has already shifted from a demand to a supply overhang,” said Fischer.
According to schweizerbauer.ch, he also warned against an expansion of the potato area, underlining that such an expansion would lead to overproduction.
“It would send out quite the wrong signal to extend the area under cultivation on the basis of the current situation. Even with a slightly above-average harvest in the autumn, we would feel the negative effects of this,” he said.
Fischer explained that the additional needed imports have to do with the current pandemic situation. And as soon as the first Swiss early potatoes are ready, they must switch back to domestic production as quickly as possible.
“Production has agreed to the additional quota in favor of a secure supply in the current situation. In return, however, we now expect a clear commitment from the trade to the domestic harvest. Unfortunately, I do not currently assume that potato consumption will increase significantly in the medium term due to the corona crisis,” he concluded.