"We estimate a 20 percent drop in the potato crop, although the data are not yet final. This is a pity, because the quality of the tubers is excellent, but weather conditions and the presence of elaterids have given producers quite a few headaches," said Massimo Cristiani, president of the Italian Selenella Consortium.
"The boom of elaterids, an outbreak in the metaphorical rather than practical sense, is certainly a source of great concern, unfortunately. We know that it is limited to Emilia Romagna or Italy, but foreign countries (France, Germany, Great Britain) are also beginning to encounter problems. Unfortunately, there aren't many solutions at the moment."
Agronomic solutions include crop rotation, green manure with biocide essences, increased tillage. "On the chemical front, on the other hand, the European Union has removed all valid molecules, without providing alternatives. I don't think this is a correct way to proceed. We are all for reducing chemicals and using them sparingly, also because they cost a lot, but you cannot dismantle an entire supply chain."
Another source of concern involves storage costs. "Our potatoes stay in storage for many months, and refrigerated storage is essential for good shelf life. But the prohibitive costs now, of which are expected to rise in the coming months, are a serious uncertainty. We are doing everything we can to save money, but we need to find common ground with the large-scale retail trade, otherwise the whole supply chain is going to collapse."
"The first quotations for our potatoes are slightly higher than in 2021. This is not a whim, but a necessity to cover expenses. Unfortunately, we are all in a situation we never wanted to be in," concluded Massimo Cristiani.