As reported by the French Potato Producers' Group, UNPT, "the latest samples, to date, confirm the historical deterioration of the yields of the plots dedicated to potatoes by at least 20% compared to the average of the last twenty years, that is, 1.5 million tons lost (40,000 hectares in terms of the surface). This average loss could even reach 30% in the case of rainfed potatoes, with extremes that have already been recorded at 50%."
“The sector expected a good 2022-23 season because the planting and spring weather conditions were good. Now, it expects a catastrophic harvest as a result of extreme heat correlated with a severe drought, which literally stopped the development of the tubers. The coming rains and mild temperatures won't reverse this trend.”
"French potato producers, and in particular those supplying the industry and starch factories, are preparing to suffer very significant economic losses which, according to initial estimates, could amount to more than 200 million euro."
In order to guarantee the economic sustainability of farms that invest very significant amounts of capital in this crop and to ensure sowing by 2023/2024, the UNPT calls for the general mobilization of all economic operators in the sector (industry, merchants, distribution) and the public authorities so that potato growers can overcome this moment."
For this reason, the UNPT has requested that "the prices paid to producers be revalued and that the added value be better distributed, in particular with the large-scale distribution. They also request contractual flexibility with the volumes that producers can't deliver and the quick implementation of an exceptional system of state aid aimed at financially supporting producers and encouraging them to continue this production".
"Producers alone can't take responsibility for the exceptional losses caused by this extraordinary climatic episode," they stated.
The UNPT has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Agriculture to take stock of the situation sector by sector (fresh, industrial, starch) and initiate the first measures in the short and medium term so that France continues to be the world's leading potato exporter, a strategic position for the defense of national and European food sovereignty.