Two weeks ago there seemed to be a small revival in the potato market, but it never came to fruition. There was a little export at the time: the export to the East Block and Middle East seemed to get going. "But unfortunately, we're back where we started," sighs Jan van Luchene of Bruwier Potatoes. "There is particularly little demand in Europe. Everyone has their own harvest, there is more than enough and it's cheap everywhere."

East Block, frost
He indicates that frost is needed for the export to the East Block. "That might awaken some interest, but for now they are still using their local harvest. Frost is important for those sales markets, according to Jan. "If it has frozen there, the consumer no longer trusts the local harvest. This is mainly due to a shortage of good storage facilities."

There is talk of storage problems for potatoes here and there. "Some have more trouble than other. Thankfully, it's limited within our growers network," says Jan. "Part of the harvest will be lost this year, But the storage problems aren't that bad that they'll change the market. There is too little demand. That's the problem this year."

Price 10% that of last year
The price difference compared to last season is big. "Last year we were up to 150 Euro per tonne. This season the best price was 15 Euro per tonne. The price in October was 10% that of last season." Jan is pessimistic about the rest of the season. "At the moment the Belgapom notation is at 1.5 Euro per 100 kilo and I think we'll have to get used to this price over the next 3/4 months, as there's just too much volume. I can only see one saviour this season: a long hard winter. Then there might be a rise in the price, but it won't be until the end of the season. The big buyer that could change the market, doesn't seem to exist this season."

He says the domestic consumption won't have an extreme revival. "There may be slightly more consumption due to the low prices, but not enough to unload the market. To see a change, the consumption would have to have a huge turn around, but this is a process that takes years."

For more information:
Jan van Luchene
Bruwier Potatoes n.v.
Galgestraat 1A
B-8790 Waregem
T +32 56 61 33 33
F +32 56 61 30 33