Potatoes are tubers of the Solanaceae family of plants (whereby the name "potato" refers to the entire plant). More than 1000 varieties of potatoes are grown worldwide. Since the 19th century, potatoes have been one of the cornerstones of the daily diet of Europeans.
Contrary to popular belief, potatoes are not excessively calorific. In 100 g they contain around 80 kcal. They do not contain fat. Potatoes are a valuable source of vitamin C. There may not be much of it in them - 14 mg/100 g, but it is a vitamin which is not destroyed during thermal processing and besides, potato portions are relatively large.
In terms of application, potatoes are divided into edible, industrial and fodder potatoes. The former are divided into three culinary types:
A - salad potatoes, i.e. firm, with a relatively low starch content. For salads, grilled and roasted.
B - medium-hard, with a higher starch content. To be boiled in water and fried as chips, also to be used in soups and for pancakes.
C - floury, with a fairly high starch content. For mashed potatoes, stuffing, potato cakes, dumplings and for thickening food.
Potatoes wholesale prices
Potato production 2020
Potato production in Poland has fluctuated quite a lot in recent years, interestingly with a fairly stable area under cultivation of this vegetable, which oscillates around 300,000 hectares. In 2019, the potato harvest in Poland amounted to 6.6 million tonnes. Estimates for the 2020 harvest are 8.9 million tonnes. Poland is one of the leading potato producers in Europe and the world. The world leader in this respect is China with a production of 90 million tonnes (2018 data), followed by India (49 million tonnes) and Ukraine (just under 23 million tonnes), which overtook Russia in 2018. Poland in the world ranking is (with good harvests around 9 million tonnes) in 8th-9th position. Of the EU countries, only Germany is ahead of us with a production of 10-11 million tonnes.
Potato import exports 2019
With such a strong production position, Poland is a surprisingly small player in fresh potato exports. In 2019, it was just 26,000 tonnes. In comparison, sales abroad of potatoes from Germany, with relatively little more production, even reach more than 1 million tonnes of potatoes. As for imports of fresh potatoes, they remain significantly larger than exports. In 2019, it amounted to 257,000 tonnes.
Potato trade in Poland 2020 - 2021
In terms of trade, the domestic potato season is divided into two phases. The first, when early potatoes come onto the market, starts at wholesale level in May and lasts until August. Then we have the main marketing season, when later varieties from the main autumn harvest are traded.
As far as domestic edible potato prices are concerned, they are strongly correlated with the size of the harvest. This is due to the specific nature of the Polish potato market, with little export and significant imports. Imports that are sometimes repackaged and sold as domestic potatoes.
In the 2019/2020 season, when harvests were low, potato prices in the first part of the season were record highs (the average at the large wholesaler for yellow potatoes was £1.10/kg in September 2019; £0.94/kg in November and £1.17/kg in December and January). In the latter part (after January) they remained high, but already lower than even the late winter and spring of 2019. In 2020/2021, with a significantly higher harvest, prices are much lower. The average price at large wholesalers did not exceed 0.36 PLN/kg in January 2021.