Potato pieces

Sports medicine expert Dr Tim Noakes caused a minor flurry recently when he referred to the exclusion of carbohydrates, which includes potatoes, in an athlete’s diet.

Quite naturally Potatoes South Africa (PSA) found his remark worrying. But after approaching Dr Noakes in person, it was able to get some clarity. “There is some confusion about what I have said, specifically about the role of carbohydrates in the athlete’s diet,” explained Dr Noakes.

“I’ve said that athletes with carbohydrate resistance may benefit from reducing their carbohydrate intake as this will likely assist in their losing weight and may help their performance. “However, athletes who are lean and who are able to metabolise carbohydrates normally will likely benefit from continuing a high carbohydrate diet and this could include potatoes.”

Crop increase
So there you have it. No harm done, I hope. Get your running shoes out, load up on your carbs, preferably potatoes, and hit the road. If you’re diabetic, then go easy on the spuds. While on the topic of potatoes, let’s look at the crop in South Africa. According to PSA statistician Pieter van Zyl, the current crop flowing through the markets is about the same in volume as for the corresponding period last year – the first 19 weeks – but the price has improved by an average of R3,17 per pocket.

Van Zyl goes on to predict that, if frost stays away, this year’s crop will be larger than last year’s, which was a staggering 10 million pockets more than 2010! Despite the huge increase, the 2011 price was only 20c per pocket less than the previous year. What do the supply and demand pundits have to say about that? Surely 10 million extra pockets would have brought the price down a lot more than a measly 20c?

Anyway, I’m glad for the producers that it was so little.

Rising prices
Van Zyl also tells us that the average consumer price for vegetables over the 12-month period up to January 2012 increased by 16%. I don’t know about the averages, but I do know we’re in an era of rising fruit and veg prices, which I don’t see reversing. There’ll always be dips and peaks, but we’d better get used to those averages being higher in the years to come.

Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.