Rooster is top of the pops, as growers look for EU spud promo

The Rooster is, by far, the most popular potato among Irish consumers, with the red variety accounting for 60% of potato sales. However, depressed sales of potatoes has led to growers looking for a Europe-wide promotional campaign.

Data around the potato crop in Ireland last year, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine shows that growers increased overall potato production in 2013 in response to the high prices achieved for the 2012 potato crop.

The amount of Kerr’s Pink being grown in Ireland increased last year, as part of an overall increase in the amount of potatoes being grown. However, the increase in Kerr’s Pink plantings reduced the value of these potatoes even further as market demand has tended to shift away from this variety over recent years.

The potato area increased by 14% which combined with excellent harvesting conditions and reasonably good overall yields resulted in a strong increase in overall production volume. The ensuing oversupply of potatoes and the absence of a strong export

market had the eect of significantly reducing producer prices. This situation has been exacerbated by relatively weak Irish consumer demand for potatoes since summer 2013.

Growers are expected to reduce plantings this year, on the back of reduced demand and price. The Department says that there are now discussions between growers and potato packers with a view to submitting a proposal for a three-year Industry/EU co-funded potato promotion campaign. Any campaign, the Department said, would not commence before 2015.

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