The 2016 crop figures have been adjusted several times. The most
recent figures (November) show a 4.8% increased EU-5 acreage but
production however, tells a different story. Instead of growth,
similar to the increased acreage, there is a decrease of 3% in the
EU-5 (24.5 million tons for crop 2016 versus 25.3 million tons in
With below average yields per hectare and increased volumes sold by famers through fixed price contracts, the EU free-buy volume available is very limited this year. This, coupled with the increased processing capacities of the Belgian and Dutch industries leading to higher demand, means processors and merchants buying in the daily market are faced with very limited offers and high prices.
Due to the 'high priced market sentiment', farmers tend to withhold their available free-by volumes of potatoes, hoping for even higher prices in the coming months.
In a nutshell, this is the market situation we face today: high daily market prices, a moderate quality, smaller potatoes and the uncertainty of whether the available volumes will be sufficient to meet the entire EU-5 potato demand until the end of crop season 2016.
The issue of availability versus required product specifications will last throughout the season - rejected potatoes cannot be replaced due to the lack of free-buy potatoes - but the high dry matter will provide good yields in processing. The careful use of every suitable potato and the high yield in processing are the tools needed to deal with the current tight supply that has arisen, despite an almost 5% increased acreage in the EU-5.
Jan Willem Peters