TRADE AND MARKET I NG Closed potato market in Norway keeps the local potato chain afloat Norwegian growers have a short growing season with long days This year, Norway had a particularly wet spring, which is why many growers planted late, sometimes even in early June. As frost is usually already lurking from 1 October, the growing season was very short this year. The Norwegian government aims to feed its population as much as possible with local products. For this purpose, the country has been divided into agricultural regions. Dairy farming is mainly found in the centre and north of the country, while arable farming mainly takes place in the south. Only potatoes are grown throughout the entire country. In addition to the production of food, farmers maintain the landscape, which is important not only for biodiversity, but also for tourism. This means that concessions have been made on international trade agreements, Arne Ivar Stetnes, head of the government’s International Affairs Norwegian Agricultural Cooperatives department, explains Norway’s position in regard to European trade. In order to protect the potato sector, an import levy has been set for potatoes of 15 eurocents per kilogram. An average potato yield of around 26 tons and a hectare cost price comparable to that of growers in the Netherlands, Price trend agreements for Norwegian table potatoes (harvest 2018) Week price (in euros per kilogram) 27 0.941 28 40 50 3 15 22 26 0.816 0.378 0.464 0.474 0.525 0.548 1.064 Turnover of table potatoes in kilograms 1000000 1200000 1400000 1600000 1800000 200000 400000 600000 800000 0 2018 2018 2017 2016 indicate that competing in a European playing field would be very difficult for the Norwegians. To offer growers a sustainable income, agreements about the price of table potatoes have been made within the chain and together with the government. Every spring, the government, traders, and growers’ organisations come together to agree on pricing during the season. The chain parties then record the topical market price every week during the trading season. Depending on this price, it’s possible to import without any levies. These agreed prices range from 90 eurocents for a kilo of early potatoes to 37.8 eurocents for ex land delivery of the main harvest, and more than one euro in week 26 of the following year. The import of ware potatoes is possible under certain conditions. However, as long as the local prices are still in line with the prices set by the chain partners and the government in the spring, an import levy of 15 eurocents per kilogram will apply in order to protect the local growers. This is necessary because the proceeds for the growers are lagging behind those for the potato countries in the EU-5. The short growing season is largely responsible for this. This year, the growing season was extra short because In Norway, potato cultivation takes place throughout the whole country. many potatoes were only planted at the end of May instead of mid-May. Potato World 2020 • number 1 31 Pagina 30

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