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Swiss research shows staggering losses
“More than 50% of the potato harvest is lost”
Over 50% of the potato harvest is lost from field to fork, and losses occur in the entire chain, from producers and processing wholesalers, to retailers and consumers. This is the conclusion of a Swiss study by Agroscope and ETH Zurich. Optimization of potato cultivation and consumer behavioral change is the solution.
The figures are staggering: 53% of the conventionally produced potatoes are lost, and 55% of the organically produced potatoes. The figures for processing potatoes are slightly lower: of the organic potatoes 41% is wasted and 46% of the conventionally produced potatoes. The difference with conventionally produced potatoes is due to the overproduction, this rarely happens with organic potatoes.
The study looked at the production chain in Switzerland. However, for Germany similar figures can be assumed. According to the researchers about 25% of the potatoes are lost during the harvest. A further 12% to 24% are rejected in the wholesale trade. And the final losses occur in supermarkets and in the consumers’ kitchen at home.
To minimize the losses, the researchers suggest several actions. For example, crop rotation to minimize pests or plant protection products against wireworms and new varieties of more robust potatoes. “These actions can improve the quality, and decrease the loss. However, consumers should also consider their buying and eating habits,” states the lead author, Christian Willersinn.
Publication date: 12/5/2017
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