Just When You Thought There Was Oversupply...

Published online: Mar 08, 2004
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Just when Idaho growers were close to considering potato giveaways to help manage supplies, it looks like they won't be needed--at least for some growers in some regions.

Potato Growers of Idaho have reported purchases last week of 900,000 cwt of potatoes. Good size and quality were the requirements for the $5-$6 prices paid to growers in southern and eastern Idaho. Average price paid to Idaho growers for fresh potatoes in January was $3.70 and $4.30 by processors.

PGI said there is good indication these same processors and fresh-packers will buy another 100,000 sacks.

The non-contracted buys were split about 50/50 between fresh packing plants and processors. PGI says this is an indication shippers are comfortable with the prospects.

This comes just as PGI members returned from the Washington, DC, meeting with the National Potato Council. They asked about possible government purchases of  process-grade potatoes to help the oversupply in that sector of the industry.

In Canada at PEI, there are reports growers are giving away potatoes because they can't find markets. One grower is reportedly giving away $30,000 worth.

Sales in PEI have been picking up, but January was down 17 percent and February was off 12 percent. The government said it would not pay growers for potatoes to be dumped in fields as an effort to tighten supplies.