Spud price gap remains


By FWi staff


POOR-QUALITY potatoes have come under pressure, maintaining the wide price gap in the market.


Orders are increasing for mid samples to meet extra supplies as an increasing number of producers unload stores, noted the British Potato Council.


Bulk grade one remain stabl,e selling for 180-220/t. A number of varieties are fetching up to 300/t, while best Estima and Piper are selling at 340/t.


Poor-quality grade two prices have fallen, loading at about 100/t. But despite this drop, the majority are selling between 120-180/t.


Demand is strong for frying Piper, with values starting a 140/t. Most are at 165-200, although top material is selling at 250/t.


Despite these firm prices, the remainder of the bag sector is weaker, starting at 100/t, with most ranging between 130-180/t. Estima and top red samples are stronger, with top samples at 250/t.


With the increased activity in stores, spot processing prices have slipped, with most samples at 120-160/t. However, best Piper is up to 200/t.


Free buy crisping are light, said a spokesman from the BPA, with ex-farm prices between 100-150/t.


Following this recent increase in supply, the BPC weekly GB ex-farm prices slipped back 4.40 over the week to 184.12/t. This compares with 81.81/t a year ago and 56.67/t in 1997.


Processing prices also came under pressure, with the ware-only sector falling 5.33/t at 193.23/t.


But despite this fall in ex-farm values, the futures remained firm, with April 1999 contracts rising to 302/t in London.

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