To mark last week’s National Potato Day, IFA president Tim Cullinan called on consumers, retailers and the food service sector to support Irish potato growers.
“It’s a critical indigenous sector, worth €111m at the farm gate. Four hundred growers plant over 8,000ha annually.
They supply high-quality, nutritious produce to Irish consumers throughout the year,” he said.
“Potatoes are synonymous with Irish culture, and the sector must be safeguarded.
“Irish growers have encountered several challenges over the last 18 months in terms of COVID-19, Brexit and increased input costs,” he said.
The planted acreage this year is similar to 2020, a historically low level. With yields expected to be just average, the market is balanced regarding supply and demand. “The food service sector, in particular, must check the origin of the potatoes it uses. Imports undermine the Irish market. By choosing Irish, you are supporting vital jobs in the rural economy,” Cullinan said.
IFA potato chair Thomas McKeown said the year had been challenging for growers, particularly those supplying the volatile food service sector.
“If the current situation has taught us anything, it’s the importance of supporting local producers. Growers have absorbed all of the extra costs associated with additional measures required on farms. Growers must be encouraged to continue producing high-quality crops at a fair price that sustains production.”
This year’s National Potato Day, organised by Bord Bia, shows consumers that when it comes to delicious meals, “it all starts with potatoes”. Visit www.potato.ie for more information about the about the health and nutritional benefits of potatoes, as well as delicious recipes and to find out.