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Germany: ‘Proportion of organic potatoes growing, contrary to trend’

The producers as well as the marketers of fresh potatoes are experiencing difficult times. Because of the aggressive imports of French traders and their products, there are currently considerable surpluses in the German large-scale warehouses, with corresponding price dips. How different the mood is at Öko-Bauernhöfe Sachsen GmbH (ÖBS), a marketing company for organic potato products. In contrast to the conventional sector, the market situation for organic potatoes is stable and even growing, says Managing Director Steffen Mucha.

The sales have been good and stable since last fall. The demand is there, as are the right quantities. Due to the wet weather, less produce was harvested in the East than normal. However, there were no big failures like those in Lower Saxony. “We have had stable prices since the fall and no over supply like in the conventional market. The demand and the quality of the product is in any case satisfactory. We are also assuming that the stored lots will be sufficient until the new harvest in May,” said Mucha.

Managing Director Mucha at his booth at the recent BioFach in Nuremberg

Organic potatoes have been available in German food retailing (LEH) for many years and are gaining in importance every year. Mucha: "Although the consumption of fresh potatoes is generally falling, in recent years the organic share has grown more or less contrary to this trend." According to Mucha, this also has something to do with the range of processed potato products. Because the supply has expanded steadily over the years and is currently still fully growing.

For organic products too, preference is given to the preference of regionality and the local origin of the product is always emphasized. The ÖBS does not have its own labels, but the goods are marked by marketing partners with the Regionalfenster label. Despite the advantages of these domestic products, it still remains difficult for the regional farmers to switch to organic farming. Mucha: "It's a special way of growing and you cannot just wing it. For a successful conversion one needs know-how and substantial investments, in technology and storage among other things. That's why the number of organic farmers has hardly increased in recent years, at least in our region.”

Employee Lars Zumpe at the booth at the recent BioFach

Regional & Ecological
ÖBS GmbH was founded in 1994 and has specialized in the supply of raw goods over the years. The ÖBS markets only regional and organic products, including vegetables, potatoes and onions. The growers' group is affiliated to the major farming associations of Gäa, Bioland and Demeter and works with around 100 local farmers, 10 of whom produce mainly organic potatoes. The total yield of organic potatoes is currently between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes per year. The majority of the goods go to regional packers, after which the tubers end up on the supermarket shelves.

For more information:
ÖBS, Öko-Bauernhöfe Sachsen GmbH
Geschäftsführung: Dipl. Ing. Steffen Mucha
Schweriner Str. 48
D-01067 Dresden
Tel. +49 (0)351 4905040
Fax +49 (0)351 4905041

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