In mid-January, on-farm food potato stocks stood at 109 million kilos, that is, 16 million kilos less than last year. Although stocks have been depleted at the same rate as last winter, there will be enough potatoes to cover not only domestic consumption but also exports. The combined total stocks of food and food-industry potatoes were 127 million kilos.
The last few years have been challenging for potato farmers. 2012 went down in history for its crop failures. According to Luke’s harvest statistics, although the total cultivation area remained at about 22 000 hectares in 2013 and 2014, the yield level – and thereby also the total yield – for summer 2014 fell short of the previous year. Russian import bans have also hindered the potato market both this and last winter.
It is still hoped that the ban will be lifted this winter
In mid-October, food potato stocks stood at 191 million kilos. Over the last three months, stocks have been depleted at the same rate as last year, that is, 27 million kilos per month. Although there have been fewer potatoes in storage than last year, farmers have been hoping for the ban on exports to Russia to be lifted this winter. At their peak in 2011 and 2012, exports in October–November stood around the 1.5 million kilo mark and, for example, Russia accounted for no less than 76 per cent of exports in autumn 2011.
Finnish potatoes in Ostrobothnia
Large-scale potato production is strongly centred on the regions covered by the Ostrobothnia, Northern Ostrobothnia and Southern Ostrobothnia ELY Centres (Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment). In mid-January, 89 of the 109 million kilos of food potatoes in stock were being stored by farmers in Ostrobothnia. The most potatoes were to be found in the Ostrobothnia ELY Centre region (33 million kilos), although almost the same amount was in the Northern Ostrobothnia ELY Centre region (32 million kilos). Third was the Southern Ostrobothnia ELY Centre region with 24 million kilos. Farmers in Ostrobothnia as a whole held 82 per cent of Finland’s food potato stocks.
Statistics on food potato storage are collected twice a year
The information on food potato stocks is based on the on-farm food and food-industry potato storage statistics compiled by Luke (Natural Resources Institute Finland) twice a year.. The farms and their production areas of food and food-industry potatoes were sourced from the Agency for Rural Affairs’ Rural Business Administration Information System. According to the system, 709 farms cultivated food and food-industry potatoes last summer, and the area under cultivation was 11,882 hectares.
The survey was conducted using a sample of farms that had more than two hectares of potatoes and food-industry potatoes under cultivation. The sample included 347 farms, of which 94 per cent responded to the survey. The stock survey was conducted using the same sample of farms as in mid-October. Until 31 December 2014, food potato statistics were compiled by Tike (the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry). Tike’s statistics became part of the Natural Resources Institute Finland as of 1 January 2015.
The tables associated with the statistics are published on the Food potato storage statistics home page.
Crop production statistics