Price pressures hamper new potato plantings

Price pressures over the past five years have hampered new plantings of potato crops, resulting in a decrease of 1 200ha during the 2014 production season.

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Pieter van Zyl, manager of statistical information at Potatoes South Africa (PSA), estimated that between 28 000ha and 30 000ha had already been planted, just over half of the total annual plantings.

Potato plantings have decreased from just over 53 000ha in 2012 to 50 000ha in 2013. It is estimated that 2014 will see just under 50 000ha being planted.

Despite the high price of potato production, Van Zyl said he believed the real price for 2014 will move sideways or even downwards.

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According to PSA, in January, the average cost of a 10kg packet of potatoes on the market was around R1,11 higher compared to the same period the previous year.