Time to stock up on spuds

It’s time to start stocking up on spuds as due to heavy rain, floods and cold weather throughout winter, Australia faces its worst potato shortage in history.

Currently, potatoes are selling at up to $9 per kilogram, but that price could rise in the next few weeks and stay high for the immediate future, as farmers are struggling to put Australia’s favourite vegetable on supermarket shelves.

On average, Australians eat 63kg of potatoes each year – most commonly in the form of hot chips.

This time last year, spuds were selling at $400 a tonne. The current market price is $2000 a tonne.  

Australia’s potato shortage won’t reach the same levels as Ireland’s great potato famine in 1845, but it may mean that many of us have to forgo hot chips for a while.

New South Wales’ growers were hit the hardest, with floods wiping out crops and wet grounds making conditions for replanting unfeasible. Victoria – one of Australia’s biggest potato producers – has also suffered a similar fate.

Farmers are saying they are uncertain when supply will be back to normal, so now may be the time to stock up on spuds.

The best way to store potatoes is in a brown paper bag, hessian bag or cardboard box in a dark, dry, cool environment (between 7–12°C). Make sure they’re well ventilated and keep them away from moisture and humidity. That way, they’ll store for months without going mouldy.

Are spuds a part of your weekly diet? Have you noticed the increase in potato prices?

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