Poor harvest of potato and grain in Latvia

This year's uncharacteristic weather conditions have had a significant negative impact on grain and potato harvests, leading to price increases, Latvian Television reported August 31.

“At the moment, potato is gold. Overall yields will clearly be lower. It is very likely that the late varieties [..] will also have no quality. If you could buy three bags for a price last year then this year it is two bags for the same price,” said Aiga Kraukle, chair of the union of potato growers and processors.

The rainy spring, the prolonged period of heat and drought, and the Colorado beetle invasion are the main reasons why this year a large portion of the potatoes are unusable or not growing. 

A similar situation is also observed in grain production: due to the hot July, the grain did not ripen but dried out on the field. Consequently, the mass of grain volume has decreased this season as the quality is too low to be used for food.

This year, the price of grain has increased by around 30%, while for rapeseed, by 45%.

“We're guided by what's happening on the exchanges. The price on the European stock exchange around this time last year was EUR 190-195 per tonne, but it is currently EUR 245-250 per tonne," said chair of grain producer VAKS Indulis Jansons. This will also affect the end price in the shop for bread and flour. Experts estimate that it will be only a few cents per loaf of bread, more for pastries and similar baked goods.

“It is likely that food will get more expensive, and this has already happened in part, as far as it can be seen from the prices in the shop,” said Jansons. Price increases will be influenced not only by harvests but also by gas, electricity, and fuel prices.

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