September 06th 2018
European drought: Potato starch supplier Emsland warns of “dramatic” cost increase to raw materials.
The European potato harvest will be at a historically low level this year and present a massive challenge for growers, processors and their customers. Due to the crop failures in potato fields, some of which were total failures, the availability of potato products will be significantly reduced. According to the Raw Materials Procurement Department of the Emsland Group, potato fields of the contract farmers of the group are in dire conditions.
Also AVEBE, one of the worlds biggest potato tarch producers and owned by farmers in the Netherlands and Germany, expects to process substantial fewer potatoes this year. The first fields harvested for this production campaign that just started, have confirmed indeed lower potato yields.
The German Association of fruit, vegetables and potato processing industry (BOGK) expects that the potato harvest in Germany and Europe also made light of the situation in July.
Farming and potato processing industry experts explain that at this current time the crop is expected to be reduced by a minimum of 25 percent; large potatoes, which are necessary to produce French fries will only be available in small numbers or in the worst case not at all in many areas.
Since May 2018, Europe has been experiencing a dry spell and above-average seasonal temperatures, including numerous heat waves.
Europe is experiencing what farmers are calling the “worst drought in recent history” – which could create food shortages and financial troubles for Europeans. The Lithuanian government declared a state of emergency for the drought and Latvia acknowledged it as a natural disaster of national scale. Norway, Ireland, and Denmark have imposed water restrictions.
The commodity exchanges for potatoes have been reacting massively to this drought for quite some time. At the same time, some growers of seed potatoes are already raising their prices for 2019, as they are also likely to suffer from reduced yields and quality problems, meaning that the drought could also affect next year’s plantings.
Source: https://www.emsland-group.de/news/2018/897-shortage-of-raw-materials-due-to-extreme-drought-significantly-impacting-the-2018-19-potato-campaign and https://www.bogk.org/application/files/7515/3251/1626/Press_release_potato_harvest2018.pdf