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Belgapom price of potatoes at 250 Euro
"In '76 we were paying the farmer twice as much"
The potato market is still expensive. "The Belgapom price rose to 250 Euro this week, but there isn't a lot of trade. The potatoes are scarce, we are waiting for the new harvest. Due to the cold they might be a bit later, so that's affecting the price of the old harvest at the moment," says a Belgian trader.
He continues: "If the weather stays good, with a bit of rain here or there, it could be a very different situation in 5 or 6 weeks. The weather is a deciding factor in the mood. "The frost hasn't had a lot of impact on the early potatoes themselves. Most of them weren't quite above ground yet and the potatoes under plastic were mildly affected. Despite this it still determines the mood. Potatoes are emotion." He believes almost everything is going to the industry at the moment. "Now we can start to tell whether we have a shortage or an excess of old potatoes, but I don't think anyone has an excess. The companies that need potatoes now, and so need to buy them, are getting nervous and so are paying more." Prices aren't yet at their highest. "250 Euro is paid to the farmer, but those who have to buy for the industry at the moment are losing out. You can't sell the final product for that price. That means a loss."
Yet it isn't the highest price ever. "In '76 we were paying the equivalent of 500 Euro to the farms. In 2010 up to 350 Euro per tonne was paid. I have experienced years in which 250 Euro was paid in November and 25 Euro in June. That's ten times less in the same harvest. Anything can happen in potatoes. It's a different story now compared to 1976. There is a much larger capacity in the industry which wasn't the case back in the day. There wasn't that volume in factories, there had to be export. There was a lot more free trade back then."
Publication date: 5/8/2017
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