Grecia: Large stocks and disappointing potato prices
The early autumn potato harvest will start in about 20 days; however, the situation in the potato market is disappointing.
There are large stocks in Drama and prices have fallen to very low levels. The only solution for producers is to store the production and wait for the better prices and higher demand of Christmas.
The President of the Ileia Potato Producers Association, Mr Andreas Tsoukalas, said that production is expected to be of good quality. The bulk of the harvest will start in December; however, there don’t seem to be any changes in the market conditions. At this time, potatoes are sold for 13-15 cents per kilo and the acreage devoted to the crop seems to have been reduced.
"This year there was a large production of spring potatoes, so in mid-August, when the campaign started in Drama, there were still stocks from other areas," said agronomist Mr Charalambos Georgiades to AgroTypos.
In Drama, the weather conditions made it possible to have a normal production in terms of volume, but of very high quality. Early potatoes hit the market from 15-20 August. From the beginning, it seemed that potatoes would not reach good prices this year. One variety reached 16-17 cents per kilo, while others were sold for 12 cents and even for fewer than 10 cents. In general, the situation is disappointing. Potato growers are forced to sell at such low prices because they have expenses and have to pay their workers. Anyone who has a warehouse is lucky, as prices are expected to rise. Some varieties can be sold until March.
"Potatoes are being sold for between 9 and 13 cents per kilo. Last year, we sold them for between 27 and 30 cents per kilo," says Mr Nikos Stephanidis, a producer from Drama.
Producers in Messinia, who are expected to start sowing from early December, are also pessimistic about the situation.