Food & DrinkLifestyle

Huge Demand Sparks Limited Stock Buying Race, Prices Surge 81% in Potato-Starved Europe

Last year, a decrease in potato production worldwide was observed due to both summer and overall warmer temperatures. This led to an increased consumption of food items and a subsequent rise in their prices, which were already high. If the increasing heat leads to a rise in prices due to rainfall, it can be termed as “stagflation,” a phenomenon attributed to the effects of precipitation on pricing, amidst rising temperatures.

Climate Change Impact: Rising Heat and Heavy Rainfall Across Europe

This year, a situation of this nature continues to persist. According to a report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization, the number of extremely hot days in Europe has increased significantly in many regions, while heavy rainfall has also occurred in several places. 

The report highlights that over the past 30 years, from 1991 to 2020, there has been a 7% increase in rainfall, exceeding the average of the previous three decades.

Potato Shortage Leads to Severe Impact, Disrupting Lives of 1.6 Million People

As a consequence, 16 lakh individuals have fallen victim to shortages. The most adverse effects were felt on potatoes, which experienced the third-highest increase in consumption worldwide. 

Amidst last autumn’s unfavorable weather conditions, harvesting potatoes in Europe was delayed by up to three weeks due to waterlogged soil. Consequently, an estimated 6.50 lakh tons of potatoes could not make it to the market.

Fear of 20% Decline in Potato Seed Supply Creates Market Panic

As a result, there is apprehension about a 20% decrease in the supply of potato seeds this year. Consequently, there is a scarcity of potatoes in the market. 

Large purchasers such as packers and processors are facing fierce competition to secure stocks. This heightened competition is contributing to the ongoing increase in prices.

Netherlands and Belgium Hit Hardest by Potato Crisis in Europe

The Netherlands and Belgium, the largest producers and processors of potatoes in Europe, are facing the most significant impact. 

In April, the wholesale price of potatoes in the Netherlands reached a record $397 (approximately 33,000 rupees) per ton. The price of English white potatoes has surged by 81% compared to a year ago.

Europe Faces Heightened Concerns with Arrival of New Pest

The arrival of a new pest is raising concerns about further escalation of the crisis. Potatoes are deemed one of the most essential food items in Europe, where individuals consume the highest average of over 90 kilograms per person annually across various sectors worldwide. 

Belarus ranks as the highest consumer of potatoes globally, with an average annual consumption of 155 kilograms per person.

India and China Lead Global Potato Production

Annually, approximately 37 to 38 million tons of potatoes are produced worldwide, with India contributing around 15-20% of this total, roughly 6 crore tons. China follows closely, producing nearly 10 crore tons of potatoes. 

In India, the annual per capita consumption of potatoes is estimated to be around 25-26 kilograms. However, due to unfavorable monsoon seasons, this year’s potato production in India is expected to decrease to 5.9 crore tons, leading to a rise in prices. Currently, in various parts of the country, the wholesale price of potatoes ranges from ₹35-40 per kilogram.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.