Potatoes, a Slovak staple, have reached record high prices

The prices are the highest in the V4 region.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The prices of potatoes, which are a staple in Slovak households, hit record high levels. One kilogram is currently sold for €0.95 on average, which is the highest it's been in nearly 20 years.

Compared to April 2018, when one kilogram of potatoes cost €0.60, the price rose by 58.3 percent, according to an analysis of the Slovak Farming Cooperative (SFD) organisation.

During the past 10 years, the average price of potatoes stood at €0.57 per kilogram, the SITA newswire reported.

Prices are also high abroad

Slovakia is not the only country that struggles with the increased price of potatoes. This trend is reported by other countries of the Visegrad Group (V4) region as well.

“Hungary reported an annual increase of 75.8 percent for potato prices in April 2019, according to the Eurostat data, while in Poland it was a 75.7-percent increase and in the Czech Republic a 61-percent increase,” said Eva Sadovská, an analyst for SFD, as quoted by SITA.

In the whole EU, the prices of potatoes were 28.2 percent higher than last year, while in the eurozone they rose by €21.6 percent, she added.

The most expensive potatoes

Potatoes were sold for an average of €0.55 per kilogram in Poland, while in Hungary it was €0.88 per kilogram and in the Czech Republic €0.92 per kilogram.

“This means that the prices of potatoes are the highest in Slovakia, but this is also the case for other food prices in the long term,” Sadovská said, as quoted by SITA.

Droughts and insufficient storing capacities have contributed to the growing prices.

“However, experts also say that it is necessary to grow the type of potatoes Slovak consumers are interested in,” Sadovská explained.

Slovaks eat fewer potatoes

Slovaks eat fewer potatoes than they used to in the past. While 20 years ago they ate 78.6 kilograms a year on average, 10 years ago they only consumed an average of 58.7 kilograms a year. Back in 2017, average annual consumption was only 48.9 kilograms.

The recommended annual amount per person is 80.6 kilograms.

“We are not self-sufficient in the production of potatoes,” Sadovská said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that we are at 50-percent self-sufficiency. “This means that the production of potatoes in our country represents about one half of consumption. As a result, we have to import the rest from abroad.”

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