Potato prices in Italy soared by 26% year-on-year in August, making it the horticultural product with the highest increase in consumer prices, according to farmers association Coldiretti.
A decline in the production of Italian potatoes and 27% increase in imports of foreign potatoes – exceeding half a billion kilograms in the first half of the year – weighed on prices, Coldiretti noted.
Higher energy costs and lack of compensation in prices for Italian farmers contributed to the decline in production.
Coldiretti added that 'while agricultural production quotations are on average 0.54 euro per kilo according to Ismea, retail prices for consumers are rising to between €1.10 and €2.30 per kilo.'
Approximately 80% of Italians consume potatoes at least once a week, and the quality/price ratio is a decisive factor for 53% of the consumers, according to the survey by Unapa, the national union for the potato sector.
Moreover, 45% of respondents said they consider potatoes of Italian origin while making a purchasing decision, data showed.
Production was also affected by flooding in Romagna, as well as the damage caused by storms.
Farmers in Spain and Italy are turning to techniques ancient and modern to safeguard production of regional produce including olive oil and Prosecco as climate change forces them to rapidly adapt.