Switzerland: COVID-19 makes imports of potatoes necessary | Instant News

Because of the Corona crisis, potato imports became necessary. Ruedi Fischer, President of the potato producer, explicitly warned against expanding the potato area during talks with Schweizer Bauer. Such expansion will lead to overproduction.

Schweizer Bauer: The demand for potatoes is very good. Can it be satisfied with domestic potatoes?

Ruedi Fischer:

“No, Swiss noted that it had applied to the Federal Office for Agriculture for an additional import quota of 8,000 tons of table potatoes, to run from April 1. Because of the corona crisis, an additional amount is needed in a short amount of time. Procurement may not be easy. “

“The creation of emergency supplies, cooking at home, no more shopping or tourism is the reason why potato sales are increasing. However, the market for industrial goods has shifted from demand to supply overhang. “

What varieties are currently highly sought after?

Ruedi Fischer:

“We have to differentiate between table potatoes and processed potatoes. As mentioned, sales of table potatoes, both flour and wax, are currently above average. “

Where is the problem?

Ruedi Fischer:

“There might be a very difficult situation with processed potatoes, especially with french fries. Restaurants, fast food chains, ski resorts, and other large consumers of French fries have to close because of the Federal Council’s decision. “

“This will produce a huge shortage in sales. It is now important that, if possible, industrial varieties are transferred to the food channel. We also believe that imports of processed potatoes must be stopped. “

Can the potato area be expanded this year?

Ruedi Fischer:

“That will send the wrong signal to expand the planted area based on the current situation. Even with harvests that are slightly above average in autumn, we will feel the negative effects. “

Isn’t there more import threat?

Ruedi Fischer:

“Additional imports are currently related to the Corona exclusion situation. As soon as our first Swiss potato is ready, we must return to domestic production as soon as possible. Production has agreed to an additional quota for safe supply in the current situation. “

“However, instead, we now expect a clear commitment from trade for domestic harvest. Unfortunately, I don’t currently assume that potato consumption will increase significantly in the medium term due to the corona crisis. “

What would you suggest to farmers who are considering entering potato production?

Ruedi Fischer:

“That they shouldn’t do it.”

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