Potato suppliers have warned that increasing wheat and oilseed commodity prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and caused by other production issues around the crop could see growers abandon potato production.
Mark Taylor, chairman of the Fresh Potato Suppliers’ Association told The Grocer that “dramatic” market uncertainties meant that British farmers were seeing “increased opportunities in wheat and rapeseed,” which could result in a smaller potato crop this autumn.
Jack Hamilton, chief operating officer of Mash Direct added that while potato availability is currently very good, that could change as the season progresses, with some growers switching to cereals and oilseeds, while others had decided that high production costs meant that it was not worth growing a crop. To compensate and hedge against the risk, Mash Direct is increasing it’s growing area by 25% this year.
“The main thing so far has been the shortages,” he said. “The rising costs of fuel, of fertiliser, of labour.”
“As farm, factory and brand, we are uniquely positioned to try to keep costs down and be as competitive as possible with prices… keeping supply chains as short and simple as possible.”
Mark Taylor said that a reduction in UK production is unlikely to result in large price increases or a shortage of crop as the UK is “probably over-producing already.”