Poor potato harvest in 2021 leads to imports
The 2021 potato harvest looks poor. The miserable weather affected the tubers and led to large harvest and quality losses in some cases. This also affects the production of chips and french fries. In addition, more potatoes are being imported.
Friday, February 11, 2022
The 2021 potato harvest was much leaner than usual due to the bad weather. This is now having an impact on stocks. According to the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), they are around 30 to 40 per cent lower than in other years. The industry organisation Swisspatat assumes that there will not be enough potatoes available until the next harvest. Therefore, at Swisspatat's request, the FOAG has increased the import quotas for table potatoes and processing potatoes by 20,000 tonnes each.
Low harvest was on the cards
It was already apparent in autumn 2021 that the yields would be much lower. According to "SRF", the hailstorms in summer and the never-ending wetness affected the quantity and quality of Swiss potatoes. The potatoes were generally small in size, which meant that the harvest quantity was also lower. The smaller tubers as well as cracks make processing more difficult. Ruedi Fischer, President of the Association of Swiss Potato Producers, told "SRF" that the poorer quality of the potatoes could also be seen in the chips and french fries: "If you look closely, you may notice small cracks in the chips. But that is absolutely harmless for consumption."
Yield losses of up to 50 per cent
Since the potatoes are often hollow inside, they are also difficult to process into chips. However, nothing stands in the way of their enjoyment. More serious are the sometimes enormous yield losses. On some farms there were even total failures. "Compared to last year, when we had a good harvest, we have up to 30 percent less yield this year. Depending on the farm and the region, it could even be up to 50 percent less," Fischer told "SRF" in autumn 2021. This means: The financial losses for the respective potato producer are very large, because losses are not compensated. Despite the higher prices that the potato producers now receive from the buyers: Financially, too, 2021 was a year to forget for them.
Precision breeding would offer a remedy
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