Potato market chronicle January 2020

Publication author: Frédéric Laviron – Roussineau SA

Potato market chronicle January 2020

Uncertainty is the worst of evils, until reality makes us regret the uncertainty. This is indeed the prevailing feeling at the start of this campaign, as our sales are so different from our forecasts. Didn’t we think that Eastern European countries, with their large production deficits, would come to France to buy at least part of their needs?

Didn’t we think that French production, rather below annual averages, would lead the industrial sector to position itself to fill the gap? Didn’t we think we’d have no trouble selling all our production? Nothing, or very little, has turned out to be the case.

Studying demand

To date, stocks are still very full, and there’s a certain anxiety on everyone’s faces – that famous anxiety born of uncertainty. Admittedly, prices are quite attractive, but for what quality? Exceptional. Warm growing conditions have led to a more rapid ageing of tubers, and the gap between buyers’ demand for quality and the reality of batches is widening, giving way to a certain wait-and-see attitude and a lack of dynamism.

The establishment of larger production areas in early-ripening regions, particularly in southern Spain, combined with a strong trend towards “local” consumption, leads me to believe that the campaign will not last as long as the taxes! Nonetheless, demand is there, particularly in Greece and Romania, and we need to consider all requests.

A burning new year

The new year is sure to be full of hot topics: alternatives to CIPC, more dormant varieties, the discontinuation of insecticides and, more generally, the sanitary quality of our production in view of the pressure of viruses and wireworms… Nevertheless, I join my fellow SNCPT brokers in wishing you an excellent year.