The French Potato Inter-branch organization (CNIPT) shared an analysis of the European potato market for weeks 16 and 17.
The dynamism of trade seems to be confirmed in the large-scale distribution circuit. The wholesale market is also improving, although the activity level remains below pre-COVID levels. As for exports, the market remains active and the regularity of flows to Eastern European countries is confirmed. Flows to Spain are going to decrease as the early potato harvests progress.
The latest figures show a mediocre national demand. Last March, German retailers sold 132,000 tons of potatoes, i.e. 22% less than in March 2021. The figures of the AMI/GfK Housepanel panel show that, during the first three months of the year, consumption stood at 388,000 tons, i.e. 15.7% less than in the same period last year.
The earliest potatoes have already been harvested in Seville and Cadiz and they were sold at high prices of €550-600/t. In the next two weeks, the harvest will be widespread in Andalusia. The quality of the tubers looks good. In Cartagena, the harvest is delayed by rain. Quality and performance could be affected due to the heavy rains there were in March. Spanish supermarkets started replacing the French potato with early potatoes in March. Retailers are increasingly buying second-harvest potatoes produced in the Cartagena-Murcia region and early potatoes imported from Israel.
The potato area for the next season is estimated at 15,000 hectares, i.e. 6.2% less than last year, according to the National Institute of Statistics. The irrigated area is 13,000 hectares (similar to last year), with the remaining 2,000 hectares of rain-fed land (25% less).
Sicily's early potato production is almost a month behind schedule due to late sowing. There won't be a significant harvest until mid-May. Estimates are there will be some 337,000 tons of early potatoes in 2022, i.e. 30,000 tons more than the average for the last five years.