There is concern among Northern Ireland farmers that certain packers are using last season’s potatoes, which are appearing in value packs on the supermarket shelves.
Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) Potato Committee Chairman Adrian Jamison says this is not only affecting producers but it is misleading the consumer as they think they are purchasing fresh, in-season, quality potatoes.
"How can we expect consumers to purchase our produce when the product on the shelves is last season’s? This will not help address the challenges being faced by potato producers or the decline we are experiencing in potato consumption.
“While producers bargain hard for the best price, the local merchant and packers need to remember that there are plenty of in-season, good quality Farm Quality Assured potatoes available and they have an obligation to be working with producers to ensure their in-season produce is on the supermarket shelves. The UFU Potato Committee will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and will be addressing this issue with packers should this issue continue," he said.
Jamison says strong demand exists for in-season locally produced potatoes and farmers in Northern Ireland are being advised farmers to market their produce strongly.
He says Northern Ireland agriculture has a flourishing potato industry, growing high quality, fresh local produce and as we enter into the Autumn/Winter more consumers are incorporating the humble spud into their daily meal options.
"Quality local potatoes not only give consumers value for money but also an enjoyable eating experience," he said.