One of Northern Ireland’s best known potato farmers says he is receiving only 14 pence per kilogram for his world famous Comber potatoes.
His gripe is that the supermarket which buys them from him is selling them in the store for £1 per kilo – a hike in price of seven times more!
Robin McKee from Comber was one of the key drivers behind achieving a protected geographical indication (PGI) status from Europe for the Comber potato.
This status puts them on the same worldwide shelf as Parma ham and Champagne but it has not helped with current prices.
Farmer McKee reckons the prices will fall even more in the future leaving him losing money after paying high storage costs on his farm.
Mr McKee said: “There is a huge difference between the farmgate price we get and what is then charged to the general public. Trade is very slow at the moment and it does not look as if prices will go up. I am using electricity every day and I think trade this year is even worse than last,” he said.
“Prices are still a very long way from sustainability and I do not know what the answer is. Certainly, the producer has no input.”
Comber potatoes are popular among consumers as they have an earthy, nutty flavour and characteristic smooth skin.
By Chris McCullough