June 16, 2020 / 10:21 AM / 24 days ago

Coronavirus a recipe for disaster for German potatoes

HAMBURG (Reuters) - German demand for potatoes and potato products has collapsed during the coronavirus crisis, meaning the vegetable is being used as animal feed or for making biogas instead, an industry body said on Tuesday.

There had been a “catastrophic reduction in sales” of frozen, chilled and dry potato products, the German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) said.

Germany is the biggest producer of potatoes in the European Union and a huge consumer.

“Several hundred thousand tonnes of processing potatoes could not be used,” BOGK chief executive Horst-Peter Karos said.

“Valuable food must be used for animal feed, biogas production or disposed of in other ways”, causing the industry millions of euros in losses.

Karos said the potato-processing industry needed aid from the government under its economic recovery program.

Although German restaurants have reopened, large numbers of restaurant bankruptcies are expected while demand from large events and exports is not expected to recover quickly, it said.

Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Nick Macfie

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