The domestic potato sector is currently in the middle of the German early potato-campaign. Pleasing quantities of early tubers are currently on offer to the trade and export customers. Henning Bannick, Managing Director of the Bavarian Straubinger Kartoffelhandel, knows there is an interesting market for German wholesalers in France.
In the southeast of the state of Bavaria, new potatoes are cultivated on a small scale, especially in the region north of Straubing near Pfatter. Therefore, the current new potatoes are usually sourced from other growing areas in Germany, e.g. the Palatinate, the region at the Kaiserstuhl or Lower Saxony.
Straubinger Kartoffelhandel acts as a middleman in this business, explains Bannick. "We buy the new potatoes from long-term partners and then sell them, within Germany, to France and Austria. The aging stocks were sold off quite early in France because the European market was very receptive, which is why an urgent need has arisen. "It is now expected that in a few weeks enough French new potatoes will hit the market to meet demand."
Henning Bannick, manager of Straubinger Kartoffels.
The producer prices for German new potatoes currently amount to 50-60 euros per 100kg. The export price in France is moving in a range that make occasional deals possible for the traders. The German goods are therefore more in the high-priced area: Imported potatoes from countries like Italy are partly moving around 25 Euro per 100kg. Austria is e.g. priced between 30 and 40 euros per 100kg.
From new potatoes to the main crop
For medium-sized and flexible companies such as the Straubinger Kartoffel in particular, it would be advantageous if such an exceptional situation arises. Bannick believes that the importance of German new potatoes abroad has improved in recent years: "Otherwise it would not have been possible to deliver goods to France, which is of course unusual. We also find that more and more farmers want to grow new potatoes simply because they trade at good prices and margins can be achieved. This is also an interesting area for us as traders. But we do not encounter these great conditions for German new potatoes every year."
A gratifying new potato campaign is not necessarily a sign of a successful season. Due to today's sales, however, a seamless connection to the main crop is to be expected, says Bannick. "Despite the holidays in Germany, potatoes are also selling well in this country. There will certainly be a few adjustments to the price until September/October; However, I hope the market will remain fairly balanced, also considering the different weather conditions in the different growing regions of Europe."
The company's packaging facility
Climate change and potato marketing
In the long term, there are already some big challenges for the German and in particular the Bavarian potato sector. "In Bavaria, we need heat-tolerant varieties that can be easily grown as climate change dictates. From the consumers, we see an increased demand for processed potatoes. Our job is to be able to cover this market area as well. At the moment, the turnover of our potatoes in our company amounts to 80 percent (among others the varieties Jelly, Torenia, Bernina, Marabel, Laura) and 20 percent processing potatoes like the Agria and Fontane varieties."
The ambitious CEO still sees a steady growth for his company. It is no coincidence that the company's total turnover has almost doubled within a few years. But he still sees an interesting challenge for the entire industry: "We have to try to explain the benefits of the product to the consumer, because unfortunately potatoes still have a somewhat dusty image. Fortunately, people at both the national level and the regional level are already trying to promote the potato accordingly."
For more information:
Straubinger Kartoffelhandels GmbH
GF: Henning Banncick
Tel.: +49 (9931) 929540 (Zentrale)
Fax: +49 (9931) 9295414