Tighter markets push potato prices up

Potato prices have risen again as strong processing and export demand combine with tightening domestic supplies.

The Potato Council‘s GB weekly average increased by £2.84/t on the week, to £184.16/t, with the free market average up by £3.48/t to £196.57/t. “Chipping processors’ interest in free-buy material is increasing and export demand is putting upwards pressure on values, with Maris Piper from £170-180/t for small volume lots, up to £200-230/t for scarcer larger blocks,” says the council’s latest report.

“Free-buy interest, particularly in Markies, is increasing, with demand for export to eastern European countries and interest in medium-run Markies suitable for crisping. The remaining supplies in the midlands are on the light side and while prices are unchanged there is a firmer undertone.”

With March being the driest for 50 years, potato plantings have been well ahead of previous years, with 55,100ha (136,097 acres) set by 8 April. “Early crops in Cornwall are looking very well with more polythene being removed and more open ground crops marking the rows. Packers are anticipating a good volume of crop to be available for programmed movement by mid-May and token lifts for the bagged trade expected later this month.”

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