The recent harvest of early potatoes from fields in the Mělník region and other farming areas in the Polabí region has hit the market, but prices are higher than in previous years. This is due to several factors, including lower yields, higher demand, and decreased imports from abroad.
According to the Czech Potato Growers Association, each Czech resident consumes around 60 to 70 kilograms of potatoes per year. Still, local farmers can only produce about 75 to 80 percent of the total demand. The remaining potatoes are imported abroad, primarily from Spain, Greece, and Egypt.
However, This year, early potatoes have been lower than usual. Due to a cold and humid spring, planting was delayed by nearly a week, reducing yield. While last year’s production yield was around 30 tons per hectare, this year’s yield is only about 20 tons per hectare.
Another factor contributing to the higher prices is the situation abroad, where early potatoes are imported. In Spain, for example, there has been a severe drought, which has led to significantly lower yields. Additionally, lower stockpiles of last year’s potatoes, imported from Germany, Belgium, and France, have reduced supply.
The Czech Potato Growers Association encourages consumers to buy locally-grown produce despite the higher prices. To this end, they have launched a campaign called “Potatoes for Peeling,” supported by several retail chains. The campaign emphasizes the freshness and health benefits of locally grown potatoes harvested as early as 5 a.m. and processed, packaged, and on store shelves the same day.
Consumers need to know that these potatoes do not have a long shelf life and should be purchased quickly before they start to turn black. By supporting local farmers, consumers can help ensure that the tradition of potato farming in the Czech Republic continues for generations.