21 April 1995

Potato prices set to settle down

INCREASED imports of new potatoes could help cap the upward trend of prices.

Recent PMB statistics put imports so far this year at 106,000t – an increase of 20,000t over the same time a year ago. And the total could be as high as 280,000t, almost 70,000t up on last season.

But imports over the past two years have been at their lowest since 1960. "The amounts predicted for this year are not exceptional," says PMBs Richard Dadson.

Over 95,000t is expected to come from Egypt (last year the figure was under 65,000t).

The figures come at a time when the GB ex-farm average price rose £4.36 to top £299/t in the week ending Apr 13.

Meanwhile, continued fine weather last week allowed the best weekly rate of plantings to occur since 1991. The 32,385ha sown took the total to 85,415ha (180,000 acres). At the same time last year, the area was 46,746ha.