Research shows only half of potatoes reach the plate

A new study by Agroscope and ETH Zurich shows that on the way from the field to the consumers’ table more than half of the potato harvest is lost. 

From the field to the kitchen 53% of the conventional potatoes are lost and even 55% of the organically produced potatoes. The numbers are lower for potatoes used in production, 41% of the organic potatoes and 46% of the conventional potatoes are lost. The higher number of lost conventional potatoes is caused by overproduction, which rarely happens with organic potatoes. 

The numbers result from the research done by scientists of the research institute Agroscope and ETH Zurich as part of the national research program 69. The losses by producers, wholesalers and retailers, processors and among consumers were analyzed. It showed that a quarter of the potatoes remain at the farmers yard. And 12% to 24% are lost in the sorting process, 1% to 3% is lost in the supermarket. And finally 15% is wasted at the consumers end. 
Although consumers have a comparatively small part of the potato waste, their contribution to the waste is the most serious, according to Agroscope. Those wasted potatoes end up in the bin or as compost while the wasted potatoes at the end of the producers, wholesalers and processors usually end up as animal feed or for a smaller part in bio-energy installation. 

To reduce the waste at the farmers’ end the researchers suggest: crop rotation to minimize pest infestation, protection against wireworms and now the creation of cultivars of robust potatoes.

Source: www.lid.ch

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