The prices of some vegetables, especially potatoes, in the Czech Republic are increasing dramatically due to a significant drop in production. Consumers are paying almost 25% more for vegetables (including lettuce, peas, cucumbers etc.) and over 67% more for potatoes. At this point, some imported tropical fruits are cheaper than locally produced potatoes.
The main culprit of a massive surge of vegetable prices in the Czech Republic is an 18% drop in production compared to last year’s harvest. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the total harvest of vegetables (excluding potatoes) in 2017 reached 241,692 tons on an area of 10,237 hectares, while in 2018 farmers harvested only 198,863 tons of vegetables from a slightly larger area of 10,404 hectares.
Potatoes, a staple foodstuff in the Czech Republic, followed the same trend. In 2017 the harvest totalled at 583,560 tons, which is by 105,410 tons (15.3 percent) less than in 2017. Out of vegetables, the largest decrease in crop show lettuces (49.5 percent), green peas (35.3 percent), gherkins (34.6 percent), and cabbages (34. percent). Onions are down by 11 percent.
The hot and dry weather conditions are the main drivers behind this production drop. Drought is becoming a new and important issue for Czech farmers. Similar conditions affected the vegetable harvest across Europe, therefore cheaper imported vegetables were not available. Local production of vegetables covers approximately 35 percent of domestic consumption. Locally grown potatoes cover approximately 80 percent of domestic consumption, according to the Situation and Outlook Report published by the Czech Ministry of Agriculture.