Czech farmers are struggling under the weight of a bountiful potato harvest. This year, farmers harvested 1.475m tonnes of potatoes, an increase of 5% on 1999 figures, and the amount of the vegetable now stored in the country has risen by 60%. This represents the highest surplus for four years.
Export potential has been severely limited by the similarly high harvests recorded in neighbouring countries Germany and Poland.
On the domestic market, this means that Czech farmers are likely to be forced to sell their crops at a price below production costs.
Frantisek Novak, chairman of the Czech Potato Growers’ Association (UBS), expects that 40,000 tonnes of table potatoes will be processed during 2001, a figure that could help to deal with the surplus. Producers of starch use only industrial potatoes, and for these the price is now expected to fall significantly.