Due to last year’s drought in other EU member states, potato growers in Hargita/Harghita county closed a bumper season, Jenő Török, head of the Hargita County Agricultural Directorate told szekelyhon.ro.
Török said that poor crops in the other major potato growing countries of the EU (Germany, Poland, Sweden, Belgium and France) meant that imports were largely missing, driving up the price of potato to RON 1.60-1.70 per kilogram compared with RON 1 last season. With production costs of around RON 0.85-0.90 per kilogram, this left little in the way of profits last season, but this season was the most profitable for them since Romania joined the EU in 2007.
He added that agriculture being a long-term business that averages out over the years, this won’t make potato growers millionaires overnight.
“We shouldn’t envy this good price from the farmers, as in previous years they sometimes couldn’t even sell their entire crop and were forced to feed it to the livestock’, he said, adding that all other crops – including grains, cabbage, sugar beet, carrots and onions also fetched decent prices this season.
After grains, vegetables and fruits potato is the fourth largest crop in Romania, which is also the fourth largest potato producer in the EU with just over three million tonnes in 2017. Romanian potato farmers’ largest handicap is the lack of domestic quality potato seed production which has to be imported. Potato has also been the staple food in many mountainous Transylvanian regions where the climate isn’t suitable for grains.