Italy: 20% more potatoes expected in 2014

A survey carried out by Ismea in cooperation with Unapa showed that Italy should produce 1.5 million tons in 2014, i.e. +20% more than 2013. 

This is due to the increase of cultivated areas and better yields per hectare with respect to the previous year. In particular, the positive commercial trend of the previous two campaigns led people to plant 8-10% more potatoes on average in 2014.

At a productive level, weather in Sicily and Apulia was ideal for new potatoes, so yields were particularly high. The same cannot be said for Campania, as there were problems during sowing and harvesting due to the abundant rainfall.

The weather caused problems in Central-Northern Italy too, as continuous rain led to quality problems. Flooded fields in Piedmont, Lombardy, Friuli, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lazio made it difficult to harvest, so there were delays of over one month. This in turn caused downy mildew and rotting problems.

In addition, the sales trend was affected particularly by produce from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Prices were interesting until March-April 2014 and then they had to deal with potatoes from France being sold at low prices to empty warehouses in view of the new campaign.

Prices have remained low in the last few weeks because of the situation in Europe, where there is 10% more produce than 2013. There is also the Russian ban problem, as a significant part of the French potatoes normally destined to Russia was reallocated to Italy and Spain.

Currently, producer prices vary according to the origin, quality and supply of the produce. Non-organised producers with limited warehouse facilities must sell at lower prices than other parts of organised producer systems with good facilities.

There could be some changes due to the unexpected reopening of the Russian market or depending on the European situation after late harvesting, the quantity of new potatoes produced by North African countries and the weather, as a cold winter could boost potato consumption.

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