The future is looking bleak for the Hungarian potato industry, as reported in the framework of the Nagykanizsa program of the Keszthely Potato Association. At the professional event, held at the Thúry School, participants were invited to attend lectures and tastings of potato varieties from Keszthely.
In addition to the promotion of potato varieties grown in Keszthely and their cultivation, the professional program also offered opportunities to give the potato sector a boost. Hungary needs 400-450 thousand tons of potatoes per year, and imports account for a rising share of this, currently about 20%. One of the reasons for this is the fact that potato cultivation in Hungary has been losing ground for the past 20 years.
"Potato cultivation is becoming increasingly unprofitable. Few people can produce high quality products under irrigated conditions at competitive prices and low costs, so the domestic potato production is losing its competitiveness against imports. This is basically because the crops are not irrigated, as it is expensive. Maybe the government will soon change the support system and more people will be able to irrigate. Another major problem is the use of poor quality seed potatoes. More than 80% of the acreage is planted with virtually uncontrolled quality seed potatoes which are not certified by anyone and fail to meet expectations," said Zsolt Polgár, president of the Keszthely Potato Association.