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Possible potato shortage looms in Ireland as growers rush to late planting following bad weather

Irish shoppers could be met with empty shelves this summer when they go looking for potatoes, after extremely wet weather delayed planting to long after it should have started, according to a news story published by The Journal.

Coming on top of a poor harvest last year, the fact that planting only started last week – which will reduce the size of the crop – means Irish supermarkets are likely to need to “ration” Roosters, an expert from the Teagasc food development state agency warned.

“Supplies will be tight in July,” said Shay Phelan, a Teagasc scientist. He added that consumers may soon begin to notice potatoes being packaged in smaller bags to try and ration supplies, while supermarket shelves might be full in the morning but empty by evening.

Despite potatoes being the crop most associated with Ireland, and a staple for many families, the country has lost most of its growers in the past decade. Sean Ryan, a Wexford grower and chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association potato committee, said there are just 160 growers today, down from 700 ten or twelve years ago.

He said supermarkets need to “step up” and support growers by ending their practice of promoting cut-price Irish produce. He noted that supermarkets often promote ultra cheap deals on potatoes – such as 49c per bag ads in the newspapers.

Source: The Journal. Read the full story here