Stock up if you can! Bad harvest weather causes potato shortage in SA

Stock up if you can! Bad harvest weather causes potato shortage in SA

Would you like fries with that? Then you better start stocking up on potatoes.

Potato crop damage due to cold and wet weather is causing a shortage of the starchy bulb in South Africa, which has affected the availability and the price.

In an interview on the breakfast show on Cape Talk with Refilwe Moloto this week, the general manager of Messaris Nuts and Crisps, the oldest potato crisp manufacturer in South Africa, Nick Messaris, said early winter cold snaps have almost decimated the potato supply in South Africa.

“We have had a rather bad potato crop in South Africa. Farmers in the northeast of the country have had almost a disastrous crop due to the cold snaps that we had earlier in the winter.

“As a result, there has been very poor yield in the crops, and that obviously affects the price. If you go to the market, you are looking at anywhere between R80 and R100 for a 10kg bag compared to the initial price, which is between R40 to R50,” he said.

Asked how much it has affected prices on his end, Messaris said they are actually sitting without a potato supply at the moment.

“We have had an intermittent supply over the last three weeks. It is a problem. We are trying to source potatoes whichever way we can. But we are fighting against the likes of Simba, Willards, McCain. Everybody is pretty much in the same boat,” he said.

Messaris added that in terms of the potato price, as new crops are harvested, he believes you will see a normalisation, and the prices will definitely come down again.