The opinion of an operator from Campania (Italy)

The potato market, in the face of price increases and uncertainties

"The scenario that looms for the next Italian potato campaign is a bit unusual, with crop expenses that producers will have to bear being really high and purchase prices for the consumer being a bit steeper, but there will certainly be no shortage of consumption, because potatoes are a mass product," said Francesco Provvisiero, an entrepreneur from region Campania who works in the sector.

"This year, although the purchase price of the tuber seed is not yet known, we expect higher quotations than those for consumption, also because transportation costs, which are clearly growing, will affect the purchase prices even more. This time it will be necessary to have substantial capital available to face the new campaign."

"At the moment, consumption is lower than last month, as it is every year in September. We are purchasing mostly from France, and this year, because of the dry weather, the production has been affected, with a decrease compared to last year's campaign of about 30 percent. We are buying French potatoes in 1300 kg jumbo bags, at €0.35 per kilo. This quotation depends on the fact that production is lower and the demand from various European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal are high. On top of these €0.35 cents, we must then add the cost of transportation by both road and rail. Given this scenario, we are concerned not only about the increases but if we will be able to make it until May/June with French potatoes and then start with ours. Among other things, we still don't know what the crop schedules made by Italian entrepreneurs look like."

Another painful note for potato traders is the issue of cold storage, which, given energy price increases, will have a major impact on the purchase price, in addition to ugly surprises in the bill. "We are lucky, because 7 years ago we decided to implant photovoltaic panels to be energy efficient. However, I have heard from my other colleagues that entrepreneurs operating in this sector have paid bills of €40.000 euros and that the refrigeration had an impact of about €0.15 cents on the final price," concluded Provvisiero.

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