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Covid-19 and its effects on the global potato market

According to Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets magazine, the Corona-virus has had a major impact on the global potato industry since its discovery and spread earlier this year.

Covid-19 was on the rise as farmers in the northern hemisphere prepared to plant potatoes. Many growers in Europe and North America planted more table varieties in response to increased consumer demand (people were forced to stay at home and cook more often). However, at the same time, restaurants and the hospitality sector in general around the world were closed, leading a decrease of the area for growing varieties for processing: the demand for these potatoes fell sharply.

This meant that US potato production declined by at least 5%, while potato processing fell by more than 10%. At the same time, in the five western European countries with the largest potato cultivation areas (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK), production increased by about 4% compared to last year, as large areas in France and Germany "outweighed" the slight decline in the Netherlands and Great Britain.

The crisis led to a 20 percent increase in household consumption of table potatoes in April-May in many countries. Household consumption of potatoes dropped somewhat as restrictions eased, and by September it was only marginally higher than in the previous year.

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