Belgian potato industry is growing very well
Over recent years, the acreage of potatoes, and the cultivation of this tuber vegetable in Belgium have increased considerably and to such an extent that, after vegetables, the potato represents the highest production figure in agriculture. In 2016, the cultivation area increased to a record 89,163 hectares, which represents substantial growth of 13.38% compared to 2015 and as much as 35% compared to 2000! Naturally, this goes hand in hand with greater potato production, which has tripled in under 40 years. The wet spring of 2016 caused a major production decrease of 7.11% compared to 2015. However, this was only a slight downturn that will not halt the irrepressible rise of the Belgian potato. The Federal Public Service Economy announced all of this on the eve of the 83rd Agricultural Fair of Libramont, the biggest annual event of the sector.
Indeed, the Belgian potato processing industry also forged ahead in 2016. Records were broken. According to Belgapom, the Belgian potato trade & processing industry association, 4.4 million tons of potatoes were processed, amongst others, into chips and crisps. That is well over 11% more than in 2015. Also in 2016, the sector invested a record amount of €310 million, nearly twice as much as in 2015. New factories were built, and virtually all companies invested in new sustainable installations, even for water treatment.
So, the future looks bright for potato plants growing in this country, despite the appearance of a few dark clouds, namely protectionism and Brexit.