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Italy: Good demand but low prices for potatoes

Potato volumes are good, but prices are not. Common ones sell at 14-17 eurocents per kg. PDO and "special" ones, such as Selenella, are doing better. Operators are waiting for things to change.

Agripat President Michele Filippini confirms that "the prices of the potatoes that usually stand out such as patata di Bologna and Selenella are similar to last year, while the others are not doing so well."

Wholesale markets appear to be suffering from foreign competition, while things are a bit better for retail chains.

There is no single explanation for this, but a series of causes. First of all, foreign produce is available at a low price. Other operators report a few quality problems for the domestic produce.

Within a few months, Agripat will have a device that will make it possible to identify the origin of potatoes. The information on labels can be checked by cutting a small portion of tuber. It's a good tool to guarantee that the produce that is for example packaged as DPO is actually from the origin reported on the label. 

"Traceability on paper works, but checks must be more effective and scientifically irrefutable. This system is based on atom analyses and it enables us to establish if a tuber was actually grown in the area stated in paper."

From a technical point of view, the principle is that the isotope ratio of the compounds found in nature has different values depending on origin (latitude, altitude, distance from the sea), climate (temperature, humidity, precipitations), soil characteristics, fertilising techniques and the type of plant. Such natural variations are a consequence of the different chemical and physical properties of the isotopes of the same element due to mass and nuclear spin.

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