Lower hectarage and "value-added mentality" urged for Irish potato sector

Irish potato growers should reduce their planting area and seek ways of adding value to their crop, according to a senior researcher at sector development body Teagasc.

Image: John Smith
Image: John Smith

"Last year saw an oversupply of potatoes coming onto the market right across Europe, with prices falling accordingly," Dr Denis Griffin said, adding that the problem is compounded by falling consumption in Ireland as in the UK.

"Potatoes remain a very expensive crop to grow, with costs before storage in the range €2,000/ac to €2,500/ac [€800-1,000/ha]."

But he said there is a growing demand for salad potatoes which Teagasc is meeting through the introduction of a new variety, Imagine, and added: "There is also significant potential to increase our seed potato acreage, and to produce potatoes for the chipping market."

However, "Growing potatoes as a commodity crop is no longer a feasible business option in this country," he claimed. "Growers must develop a value-added mentality."

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