Irish Growers Told To Cut Acres By 15 Percent

Published online: Mar 11, 2004
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Irish potato growers have been told by potato specialists to cut their acrage by 15 percent this year to avoid a repeat of difficult market conditions being experienced.

The Irish Farmer's Association is leading a campaign to secure the future of Ireland's only potato processsing facility.

Association President John Dillon said the Ballymoney Foods processing facility was vital to head off imports.

There has been a big rise in imports in recent years and annual imports of frozen chips now total 100,000 tons, equivalent to 30 percent of the national crop.

Dillon said labeling that conveys meaningful information to consumers should be extended to the prepared or peeled sector of the market. "All too often, cheap foreign potatoes that might look like Irish varieties such as Rooster are being passed off as Irish," he said.

Irish growers planted 34,000 acres last year. Research organization Teagase's Tom Maher said many of the country's 800  growers have had a loss of up to 500 euros an acre.