Importers in the Ukrainian market have intensified in search of potatoes for the manufacture of chips. However, scarce goods are not enough even for their own processors. They buy the crop directly from the garden, according to agravery.
The requests for raw materials for these snacks have already been received from Macedonia and Albania. According to Oksana Ruzhenkova, executive director of the Association of Potato Producers, the export of these countries could be an unprecedented opportunity for Ukraine to declare itself.
“If there is at least one company or trader who agrees to collect a batch of 4000 tons, which processors order, then other good offers would appear,” states Ruzhenkova.
According to her calculations, 4-5 farms can generate enough volume for export by joint efforts.
But Tatyana Getman, an analyst at the horticultural market, believes that it is not even a matter of volume. Cooperation should begin with the cultivation of potatoes of uniform quality, using the same technology, from the same seeds, using the same crop protection products and fertilizers. That is, the Ukrainian producers have to do everything the same way as cooperatives in Europe do.
Meanwhile, the producers themselves are not in a hurry to move in the direction of export. There is little quality chips potato in Ukraine; processing plants like “Kraft Foods Ukraine” or “Club Сhips” buy it “from the hands”.
“The price in Europe for chips potatoes is almost the same as in Ukraine. There are no problems with export and documents. After digging the potatoes up, I didn’t even have to keep to storage them, all of them were immediately taken away by the processors,” says Valentin Plaksya, head of the “Zhuravushka” farm.
Denis Statsenko, head of the “Poliska Kartopliana Kompaniia”, does not believe in the possibility of a quick adjustment of exports. According to him, situational supplies to Macedonia will not give significant benefits but the capital investments for export development are serious.
“To become a stable exporter to Europe, you need at least 3-5 years of work. You need to go and to negotiate with companies, make test batches,” he explained.
Previously, the Association of Potato Producers predicted that the potato harvest would be more than last year’s, despite the reduction in acreage by 10-15%. In the problems of the European potato producers, Ukraine was not involved; professional potato breeders collected even 45–50 t/ha. The smallest amount of potatoes (25-30 tons) this year was harvested in the Zhytomyr region.