Porbatata launched a campaign to promote the consumption of Portuguese potatoes, particularly at “home”, at a time when the total area under cultivation in Portugal has been suffering “enormous drops”, with many farmers “migrating” to other crops, with visible effects on production.
“The total area has registered huge drops in the last 20 years and has been accentuated in particular in the last five. There is a great reduction in the area, whether under rainfed or irrigated cultivation”, which “is having an impact on our national production” , contextualizes the president of the Porbatata- Portuguese Potato Association, Sérgio Ferreira, to Negócios.
“Producers have been experiencing many difficulties and have been migrating to other crops”, regrets the same official, pointing out that, this year, even more so with the country plunged into a new period of drought, the perspective is that production will return shrinking.
Potato production in Portugal occupies an agricultural area of 16,804 hectares and, according to the most recent data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), exceeded 413 thousand tons in 2021, responding to less than half (45%) of consumption needs , explains.
Of the total, approximately 10 to 15% goes abroad. Last year, potato exports increased by 23% in value to 24.6 million euros; and grew 56% to more than 81 million kilograms in quantity. The biggest buyer of Portuguese potatoes is Spain (represents 67% of exports).
“Consume national is the logic of the potato” is the motto of the campaign launched on Thursday in Salvaterra de Magos, to promote consumption not only among the final consumer, but also among the industry. “It is the final consumer that we want to reach, but deep down, it is our most direct customer, so we want to work more closely to create more synergies and boost consumption”
As a matter of fact, “the producers who still work with potatoes have, in some cases, tried to change the potato area for consumption to the potato area for industry, which has also influenced a little the way one looks at the potato market” , says Sérgio Ferreira.
Is that – he explains – “in the case of the industry, the imperfections of the potato are undervalued because they are to be peeled, fried and packaged, but in the market it is different”.
“People attach great importance to appearance and any irregularities, even if they have no implication for food safety, neither in flavor nor in quality, lose commercial value and, therefore, producers flee a little from this type of market because there is always a risk of having some constraints in production that cause these imperfections or skin problems that later invalidate the sale or reduce the commercial value”, he develops.
The campaign starring Miss Tata, the national potato collective brand, which runs until September, the harvest period in Portugal, has been running since 2018.
“Portuguese potatoes deserve to be on the Portuguese table and, therefore, Porbatata launches its annual campaign to sensitize consumers to make the most logical choice: buy domestic. In a context as difficult as the one we are experiencing, valuing production is helping farmers to invest in this crop and preserve a fundamental food”, emphasizes Sérgio Ferreira.
Source: Jornal de Negócios by www.jornaldenegocios.pt.
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