Moderate potato harvest predicted in Latvia

The potato harvest is in full swing across Latvia. Growers estimate that the harvest would be better than last year but nothing too spectacular.

Farmer Emīls Zeltiņš from Dobele municipality: “The yield is very mediocre this year. For us, the drought left a big mark. The potatoes needed rain in August, when the harvest was ripening. But here, I think it was only at the beginning of July that it was raining, and now it rained less than a week ago, but it was too late. Everybody wants big potatoes. Like last year, they are very small in size. For the time being, I estimate that there are around 30 tonnes per hectare. Two years ago, when there was really a good harvest, there were 50 tonnes per hectare. But there was something like 30 tonnes per hectare last year, too.”

The purchase price of potatoes had been particularly low two years ago, below 10 cents per kilogram. Last year the price doubled but hasn't risen yet this year. “The wholesale price is around 22 cents per kilogram right now. If those wholesalers can come from Germany or Poland and add transport costs, then we cannot ask more, because last year we proved that they were buying where the potatoes are cheaper,” Zeltiņš said.

Data from the Rural Support Service show that this year around 7500 hectares of potato area have been registered in Latvia, which is nearly 200 hectares more than last year. In most cases, farmers are still cultivating food potatoes, and potato varieties for seed, starch, or chips are also cultivated in smaller areas.


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