No More Fries: Agriculture Department Confirms Global Potato Shortage
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that there is a global potato shortage, specifically the variant used for french fries.
Fast food joints, while known for their french fries, have begun offering alternatives to this side dish in the form of mashed potatoes or coleslaw. In some cases, they even downsize their portions or temporarily halt the sale of large servings. This behavior has caused many to speculate about a possible potato shortage.
A report by news anchor Bernadette Reyes on “24 Oras,” as well as the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirms this. “Mas nararamdaman po ‘yan sa mga fast food chains because ‘yung mga chipping potatoes po ang shortage po globally at ‘yan po ay inaangkat din po natin. Tayo po, ang ating mga magsasaka, ang itinatanim po nila ay ‘yung mga table potatoes,” Agriculture undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said.
[Rough Translation: Fast food chains are more affected by the global shortage of chipping potatoes, which is what we import. In the Philippines, our farmers plant table potatoes.]
No Potatoes, No Fries
Aside from a low supply in the potato variant that is used for french fries, there is also factors like inflation that contribute to the global potato shortage. For its part, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG)—a leading agricultural group in the country—said that some farmers opted to stop planting the vegetable, which resulted in low supplies and rising prices on locally-produced potatoes.
“‘Yung presyo ng fertilizer di ba internationally tumaas, and of course, ‘yung fuel price tumaas. So ‘yung inputs talaga mataas, kaya ‘yung cost eh hindi kaya, hindi nila kaya,” SINAG Chairperson Rosendo So said. “We hope na ma-encourage na tulungan ang mga magsasaka dito para at least dito na lang magtanim,”
[Rough Translation: The price of fertilizer increased internationally, and of course, fuel prices also went up. The inputs are high, which is why they cannot afford it. We hope that this will encourage the government to help the farmers here, so that at least they can plant with ease.]
As of the report released, the price of local potatoes at the Benguet Trading Post is at PHP 43 per kilo—an PHP 11 price increase from last week’s PHP 32 per kilo. The DA, however, said that prices in Metro Manila are much higher, with rates going from PHP 70 per kilo and up.