- Some potato producers are harvesting potatoes that are not of excellent quality due to hot spells and excess rains.
- Potatoes coming out of the Free State are generally in good condition, while those coming from the Western Cape are not of good quality.
- However, yields are generally good, with higher potato volumes expected to be delivered to fresh produce markets.
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Although consumers may not struggle to find potatoes, getting their hands on good quality potatoes in some parts of the country has recently been hard, thanks to excess rains in some regions and excessively hot weather in others.
Potatoes lifted from farms in the Free State are generally "looking good", but there are quality issues with potatoes in some regions due to rain and hot weather, Potatoes SA, the industry body for potatoes and onions, told Business Insider South Africa.
"Weather during the harvesting and growing season plays a big influence on quality. Parts of some regions experienced above-average rainfall and hot weather, which may influence the quality," the industry body said.
Several regions are currently in harvest season, including the western Free State and eastern Free State, the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, and North Eastern Cape, and Sandveld, and Ceres in the Western Cape.
In the Western Cape, rainy and hot weather conditions hampered quality.
The eastern Free State experienced good rains that resulted in good quality and average to below-average yields. The western Free State is producing above average potato volumes, Potatoes SA said.
Although potato prices increased slightly over the past week, they is expected to come down, with higher volumes expected to be delivered to fresh produce markets, Dr Johnny van der Merwe, managing director of agricultural information group Agrimark Trends (AMT), said in his weekly YouTube video that tracks market prices for fresh produce in South Africa.
"Potatoes from the western production areas are in relatively high quality and good condition, while higher rainfall towards the eastern parts, resulted in slightly lower quality on the markets, potato prices may decrease this week," he said.
A 10kg bag of potatoes currently costs R46,96, with the Class 1 type of the same size sitting at R49.55.
Potatoes SA said while the quality of the vegetable plays a significant role in price forming, it is uncertain what the price movements will be over the next three months.
"It will depend on quantity hectares planted and weather conditions as well as volumes delivered to markets," it said.