Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trouble in land of the spuds

We had a lot of reaction to the discussion on RTE Countrywide Saturday on all things potato. I particularly loved the listener who texted in that Rooster potatoes were "muck" and that anyone knew anything about potatoes wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. What's interesting is that it's a topic that enlivens so many people, but the reality is that the demographic eating potatoes in Ireland is getting older, potato sales are falling, and many farmers are leaving the business. The day of the Countrywide report I heard of a farmer, his wife and three kids who were emigrating to Canada just days later having left the potato business.
We talked about several possible solutions to the problems in this sector. Later this month Bord Bia will have research on consumer attitudes to potatoes which will throw a lot of light on buying patterns and how engagement with this wonderful vegetable can be improved. If you're interested in hearing more, the link to the programme is below, with the potato item (myself and Thomas Carpenter from the IFA discussing the issue) at about half way into the programme. The post previous to this also gives an outline of the problems - yes agriculture is thriving in Ireland, but if we turn a blind eye to the the unfair amount of power supermarkets wield and fail to legislate for primary producers, it's not going to stay that way

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