It has been an extremely difficult year for growers, with spiraling input costs; consumption trends from the fallout of the pandemic; and drought conditions have put huge pressure on growers. “The Irish potato industry is a critical indigenous sector worth €111m at the farm gate. Four hundred growers plant over 8,000 hectares annually. Potato growers supply high quality, nutritious produce to consumers throughout the year,” Tim Cullinan said.
IFA Potato Chairman Sean Ryan said growers are resilient, but there is only so much they can take. “Unfortunately, the number of potato growers has been in decline, with more growers weighing up their options in the current environment,” he said.
“There is a lot of concern around the cost of production already foregone for the year’s crop and storage costs. Growers must be compensated for these additional costs and additional margin passed directly to growers immediately,” he added.
This year’s National Potato Day focuses on highlighting to consumers the value for money that potatoes offer to feed family and friends and Irish chipping potatoes. Research from Bord Bia has shown that two out of three Irish people assume (incorrectly) that the potatoes used to make the majority of chipper chips come from Ireland. In fact, the vast majority of chipping potatoes are imported each year.
In the last few years, IFA, Teagasc, Bord Bia and DAFM have joined forces to increase the volume of home-grown potatoes being produced by Irish growers for sale in Irish chip shops.