Ukraine should be more concerned with protectionism of the interests of its own potato producers instead of importing goods in significant volumes. This opinion was expressed by AgroPortal.ua Business Lead & CEO of Potato Agro Konstantin Sarnatsky.
“Last marketing year, Ukraine imported potatoes worth UAH 3 billion from Russia. This is a record figure, ”says the manufacturer.
In his opinion, these 3 billion hryvnias could remain inside the country, and Ukrainian producers working in the table potato market would provide the required volume. State aid would allow potato growers to build vegetable stores and introduce innovations. Potato Agro has its own potato storage facility for 12 thousand tons, where modern technologies allow storing crops almost all year round. Its construction cost the company almost UAH 90 million.
When asked why the majority of producers do not have their own storage facilities, Sarnatsky identifies several reasons: “First, you need to have funds for construction. You can't just get them from the bank at 2% per annum. Secondly, without irrigation it is impossible to grow potatoes of the quality that can be laid for long-term storage. "
“If there is no well-thought-out government policy to support potato growers, we could lose an entire segment,” says Potato Agro CEO.
At the same time, Konstantin Sarnatsky separates the import of table potatoes from seed. “You cannot do without quality planting material. More than 100 own varieties have been registered in Ukraine, but it is impossible to buy a batch even for planting 10 hectares. Therefore, the import of registered seeds that have passed all quarantine procedures is mandatory. Otherwise there will be nothing to work with, ”Sarnatsky says.
He adds that Ukraine should put things in order in the statistics of potato production. “I do not believe that Ukraine grows 23 million tons. We are now in third place in the world in potato cultivation. And we cannot provide ourselves without imports, ”he says.
At the same time, Sarnatsky adds, Europeans see these statistics and are afraid to open their markets. “Compare Ukraine with 23 million tons and Belgium with 6 million tons. Of course, we don't have that much. But they count the statistics and think that Ukraine will bring 10-12 million to their market - and they will lose everything that they have invested in production from generation to generation, ”the specialist explains.
In general, he predicts that this year the price of potatoes for processing will remain at a fairly high level.