This year’s potato harvest is expected to be one of the poorest in decades, the daily e15. reported on Tuesday. Due to the prolonged period of drought, the total potato harvest this season will be around 20 percent lower than in the previous year.
Last year, Czech farmers harvested some 820 thousand tonnes of potatoes, while this year, the yield is expected to reach 645 thousand, according to the Czech Association of Potato Growers. The lowest harvest in the past ten-year period was recorded in 2016, when it dropped to 604, 000 tonnes.
The total area of potato fields in the Czech Republic has gone down this year by around 2.3 percent, but the poor yield was mainly affected by the unusually hot and dry season.
Adverse weather conditions have also resulted in lower potato harvests in all of Europe’s main potato-growing countries, including Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. These countries are facing a 30-percent drop in production.
Czechs eat on average 70 kilos of potatoes per year. According to Vlastimil Rasocha, deputy head of the Czech Association of Potato Growers, the Czech Republic only covers around 70 to 80 percent of its consumption and relies on imports, mainly from Germany and the Netherlands. The low yield will see a rise in potato prices. The purchase price of potatoes currently stands at seven crowns a kilo, while the consumer price is 16 crowns per kilo.
The Czech Association of Potato Growers expects the price to increase next year to seven crowns per kilo, which will of course affect consumer prices. Agrarian specialist Petr Havel says the price of potatoes is likely to double as a result of the poor harvest.