Potato prices have increased by an average £20 per tonne since the start of the year due to a bigger demand and farmers controlling the supply.
Reports suggest the average weekly price for one tonne of potatoes in the UK is around £172.94 for the week up to March 11. The GB weekly free buy average was £171.81 per tonne.
This marks a considerable difference to prices last year when free buy values struggled to reach the £100 per tonne mark. The rising prices are a good sign for some farmers with stores full of potatoes who are currently withholding supply and further strengthening the market.
However, the price increase is also due to the overall stock levels of potatoes in storage being lower than in previous years.
Arthur Marshall is a potato market analyst with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. He said: “There are a number of things affecting the market. There are reports growers are reluctant to sell and open the stores.”
Mr Marshall said although there were record yields last season the overall planting area was down by eight per cent. “It comes back to the start of this season,” he said. “Last year there were record yields but area was eight per cent down.
“We have mixed reports about quality in-store and that could affect the amount the market lifts. We are getting the sense some buyers are prepared to accept a lesser quality supply.”
By Chris McCullough