Farmer claims 'no potatoes left in NI'

Farmer claims 'no potatoes left in NI'

A Limavady potato farmer has blamed recent radical changes in the weather for sending the price of a spud soaring and has claimed there are "no potatoes left in Northern Ireland".

The price of the humble spud has soared recently with a tonne of produce costing £440 - almost three times more than the price of the same weight a year ago.

It means fish 'n' chip lovers could face a bit of a shock at their local chippie.

Limavady farmer, James Wray, said the changing weather in recent weeks had forced the price up.

He said: "This year has been a terrible growing season with loads of crops lost and loads of crops not harvested and any crops that have been harvested have produced low yields.

"There just isn't any potatoes left in the country, there are no farmers with potatoes left, so whatever potatoes are about, are very, very expensive.

"If you go to any of the major supermarkets most of their potatoes are coming in from Europe just to bridge the gap."

James said fluctuating temperatures over recent weeks were to blame for low yields of crops.

He added: "How many times have you cut the grass? There's no growth at all.

"Things are so cold, wet and damp, so the potatoes that are in the ground don't want to grow.

"The other week the temperature hit 20C while the other day it was 7C, so nothing wants to grow.

"That means a shortage in supply and I can't see prices falling back to what they were in the near future."

James went on: "If the price stays up we can work with lower yields but at the minute I would like all my crops in the ground and would like them all to be through the ground.

"With the longest day in the year at end of June coming up, you would want a full canopy, so you have loads of growth, loads of volume, loads of bulk and high yields.

"But, when they are not even in the ground yet, we are not looking at big, big crops for this year."


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