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Wim van de Ree, Nedato:

"A sower is a mower"

"The prices of French fry potatoes have been at a very acceptable level for weeks now. There's not much trade happening, but the volume of free potatoes is also limited," explains Nedato's director Wim van de Ree. "The prices for standard varieties are around 35 cents, with varieties like Innovator and Marquis even higher, and it has been this way for weeks. The poor batches have been removed from the market, hence there's no supply pushing down the market. Growers thus have time, have confidence in the market, and are holding onto their stocks quite well, while buyers are purchasing weekly what they need."

"As long as the weather conditions remain like this, it won't be a very early season, especially considering the showers predicted for the coming weeks. On the other hand, predicting is difficult, because you don't know what the growing conditions will be like in April and May. But for now, it's a wait for good weather. Even on the island of Tholen, (the Netherlands) I see few potatoes under plastic. But an old farmer's saying goes: 'a sower, is a mower'. For all we know, we might get nice weather with regular showers, and the potatoes might grow rapidly."

"The prices for the export have been above the level of French fry potatoes for a long time, but are now struggling to keep up with the fries. That must also have a quality cause. I think the export of Agrias has dropped due to the presence of pressure marks in various batches. The market for table potatoes is good, as can also be seen in the market listings. After years of decline, this market seems to be stabilizing now. Less was planted last year and for nice, white, packable quality, prices above 40 cents are being paid. Especially the firm cooking varieties are in high demand."

"The price of imported potatoes is still much higher. Now, Dutch supermarkets are increasingly set up to maximize focus on Dutch products, but quite a few late potatoes remained in the fields due to rain in October. At such times, it's nice that you can supplement the shortages with imports. The quality of Egyptian potatoes is good this year. Also in South Spain, there has been rainfall in recent weeks, but due to water shortages, the area has not increased anyway," continues Wim.

The shortages of seed potatoes were also the order of the day this year. "Fortunately, we have been able to supply all our growers with seed potatoes, but if you had called me two months ago, I wouldn't have dared to express that expectation," says Wim. "The first reports now are that the seed potato area certainly does not turn out higher than last year. If everything grows well, there will be enough supply. But there's not much room in the supply and in the coming years, it will remain a theme, because the margin between availability and need is very thin."

For more information:
Wim van de Ree
Jan van der Heijdenstraat 48
3261 LE Oud-Beijerland
Tel.: +31 (0)186-645960
[email protected]

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