Potato festivals, gastronomers, canteens, delivery services, retail: Potatoes are selling like hot cakes since people are allowed to meet up again, work less in the home office and eat out more. "This is still having a positive effect on sales," says Thorsten Riggert, a farmer from the Lüneburg district and a member of the board of Landvolks Niedersachsen. "However, the flows have shifted back more from the domestic sector to the public sector again." The quality of the potatoes is good; the voluemes harvested are sufficient, Riggert says.
Potatoes are popular and in demand. Photo: Landvolk Niedersachsen
Almost half of all potatoes harvested in Germany in 2021 will come from Lower Saxony. The tubers were grown on 115,400 hectares across Germany. The Agrarmarkt-Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) estimates there were around 260,000 ha of potato acreage. This represents a decline of 4.2 percent compared to the previous year. Lower Saxony's potato acreage also shrank by almost 7,000 ha compared to 2020, Thorsten Riggert acknowledges. But more potatoes were still grown in 2021 than in the drought year of 2018, and the 2020 acreage reduction proved to be a good fit, he said. "For growers, the price is right. We are currently getting €18 per 100 kilograms," says the farmer, who represents potato growers at Union of the German Potato Industry UNIKA.
According to Rigert, there are no supply bottlenecks, contrary to some other, selective sources. "If I cannot get any fries at some place, it's not because of the product. Bottlenecks occur, if at all, because goods don't make it to retailers or restaurants due to transport problems. Across Europe, everything is safe as far as the great tuber is concerned."
Potatoes are and remain in demand: according to the Kartoffel-Marketing-Gesellschaft (KMG), people in Germany consume around 64 kilograms per capita per year. During the pandemic, private households purchased significantly larger quantities than before, up to 147,000 tons a year. "We producers are satisfied. Unfortunately, not all professional colleagues can say that," Thorsten Riggert concludes.