After difficult 2019, the Covid-19 crisis increases pressure on potato growers across Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on the ware potato 1 market, which will have repercussions on the other potato market segments including the European producer organisations like the cooperatives involved in the fresh potato supply chain, as well as starch processing. In the turmoil, the sector, represented by Copa and Cogeca, proposes different solutions in a letter sent today to the European Commission.

For Arnaud Delacour, Chairman of Copa-Cogeca Potatoes’ Working party “the losses resulting from the COVID crisis are estimated to over 400 million euro for the EU, to which we have to add the loss in added value generated by trade, processing, HoReCa and other channel. Farmers’ economic reserves are exhausted as last year was already awfully bad for our sector, which had to cope with extraordinary droughts. We need prompt liquidity aids and government loan guarantees if we're going to make it through this difficult time. All measures initiated by the European Commission require a coordinated and rectified approach of the 27 EU Member States, otherwise there is a risk of internal market distortions.”

In a letter sent today, Copa and Cogeca call for the Commission to provide support in the form of a budget stemming from outside the CAP budget and to consider introducing temporary exceptional support measures for the European potato sector.

The European farmers and Agri-Cooperative organisations are also requesting that the European Commission trigger the articles 219 and 221 of the single CMO regulations in order to provide for an improved organisation of the potato supply chains and to allow them to be prepared for future problems arising once the confinement measures are lifted in the EU and third countries.

Copa and Cogeca appeal to the European Commission to support private storage for frozen French fries obtained from potatoes under contracts with the conditions the that processors agree to immediately restart their production lines at maximum capacity and market  withdrawal for ware potatoes, as there is no market for surplus.

Private storage and market withdrawal must also be available for early potatoes, as the producer organisations like cooperatives will suffer from market disturbances linked to ware potatoes and due to the prolongation of confinement measures.

For more information:
Dominique Dejonckheere

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