Comment: Retail demand remains very good.

The usual drop in demand experienced in January has not happened this year. Trade is similar to the first lockdown.

Packing trade remains strong, especially for quality Rooster and Golden Wonder varieties. Good-quality Kerr Pinks are also holding strong.

Growers who are solely dependent on the food service business and who have stocks are finding it very difficult at present.

The UK market is similar to our own as stricter lockdown measures are imposed. The future of potato seed export from the UK to the EU is believed to be a plant health issue and not a commercial trade issue. Reports indicate that DEFRA is seeking a derogation until the matter can be resolved. In Europe, higher prices have been paid for excess to contract potatoes and best-quality free-buy in the processing sector since Christmas. Export markets are described as slow after the holiday period. In Spain, the planted area is expected to decline significantly. In some parts, this could be as high as 20%.