The Netherlands enters the potato planting season, but many Dutch farmers face problems, with millions of tons of potatoes left over from last season due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Restaurants in the Netherlands, many of which serve popular “potato” fries, have been closed since mid-March, with a ban on public meetings lasting at least until June 1. With their closing, the potato market fell overnight.
“This is a dramatic season, a change of events that can not be predicted by anyone,” said Dirk de Heer from his farm in Beemster, North Holland.
De Heer said he sold his crops to dairy farmers for 0.01 euros per kilogram. De Heer is one of about a thousand farmers in the Netherlands in a similar situation. The production of food potatoes in the Netherlands is around 4 million tons per year, of which a quarter is exported.
The country’s agricultural organization LTO estimates losses from a virus outbreak so far have reached 6 billion euros, with the flower industry also badly hit.