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Kees Bijl, Bijl Aardappelen:

"Drought in Europe creating mood on potato market, with smooth sales, despite above-average prices"

The drought is currently dominating the European potato market. "At present, direct deliveries are the biggest challenge. The drought is causing rock-hard clods, especially in the clay soils. We then have to irrigate first to harvest the potatoes undamaged. So now we only harvest what's genuinely needed," says Kees Bijl of Bijl Aardappelen, a potato trading, sorting, and packaging company in the Netherlands

"This situation is creating a mood on the market, and not much rain is expected in the coming weeks either. Prices have been good for weeks, with little fluctuation. And despite the higher prices, sales are good. Thus, exports are going to a fairly wide range of destinations, such as Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. We primarily supply baking potatoes to local packing companies and potatoes for fresh fries to the hospitality industry. That, too, went well during the vacation season."

"The plots that can't be irrigated will, undoubtedly, provide less weighty potatoes. Yields are lower throughout Western Europe, which keeps the market moody. It's hard to say what prices the winter will bring, but for now, I don't see them dropping. I think the market will remain healthy, with above-average prices," Kees continues.

"The medium-early varieties we're working with at the moment have reasonably good tonnage and size. However, the later varieties, in particular, aren't yet too big. Trial harvests show yields of 30 to 50 tons per hectare, which is quite a range, but that's the reality these days."

Kees is cultivating sweet potatoes again too. These will become available on the market in October. "There's been an acreage correction this year since last year's slightly disappointing results. However, the sweet potatoes are growing well thanks to the warm weather. We could well end up with a nice yield. So, you see, you cannot judge a crop like this on a single year's performance. I don't expect sweet potatoes to become a large-scale crop in the Netherlands, but it's a nice side crop," Kees concludes.

For more information:
Kees Bijl
Bijl Aardappelen
11a Langeweg
4697 RE, Sint-Annaland, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 166 612 850


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