Top-quality potato supplies tighten to push up prices

By FWi staff

WITH tight supplies on the quality market, prices have shown a further increase this week, while middle quality-range buyers are more reluctant to give quotes. This is despite reduced availability, noted the British Potato Council.

Lower-quality offers are common and prices have fallen in this sector. “Prospects for crops that are still in the ground are now looking poor,” said a spokesman from the BPC.

Grade 1 potatoes remained stable this week at £139-£180/t, although best samples can fetch up to £210/t. Piper tops the market at £250/t. Grade 2 remain unchanged, starting at £80-£90/t, but most are between £100-£125/t.

The bag trade continues to drop, said a spokesman from the BPC, with the exception of the chip-shop sector. Piper soared this week climbing up to £160/t. Poor frying material didnt do so well falling between £80-£120/t.

Other varieties start at £70, with most at £90-£130/t. Better samples can fetch up to £130/t.

Futures markets continue buoyant for April 1999 contracts and, at closing on Thursday (5 November), traders were offering £272/t in London and £211/t in Amsterdam.

The BPC weekly GB average ex-farm price rose £4.05 last week to £122.51/t. This compares with £67.25/t in 1997 and £51.76/t in 1996. “Processors purchases strengthened the overall market,” said a spokesman from the BPC. “But even when excluded, the ware-only average showed a hard independent edge.”

The ware-only average inched up 34p to £130.57/t, compared to £61.44/t last year.

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