Potato Production in Northwestern Europe (Germany, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium): Characteristics, Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

Jean Pierre Goffart*, Anton Haverkort, Michael Storey, Norbert Haase, Michel Martin, Pierre Lebrun, Daniel Ryckmans, Dominique Florins, Kürt Demeulemeester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In Northwestern Europe, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium constitute the biggest five potato producers, with total potato crop production around 60% of EU-28 production before Brexit. Soil and climate conditions are highly favourable for potato growth in this region. Production is under driving forces of (i) the potato processing industry, particularly in Belgium; (ii) the innovation for fresh potato in the UK, France and Germany; (iii) the leadership of Germany and the Netherlands for starch potato; and (iv) the dominance of the Netherlands for seed production. Based on an industrial agri-food production system, the region has the highest potato yield levels worldwide and developed relevant trade networks for export of seed, fresh and processed potato products in and outside Europe. Conventional and intensive potato production is widespread over the region, whilst organic production started to develop in Germany and France. Whether the coming decades will be as successful as the last ones for sustainable potato production will depend on how the sector and stakeholders of the whole potato value-chain will overcome new issues and challenges. These are mainly soil quality and health conservation, consequences of climate change, increasing bans on the use of plant protection products, tightening environmental standards, food waste reduction and increasing trade tensions hampering the flow of potatoes around the world. After a detailed description of the potato production in the region, this paper contains a SWOT analysis aiming to identify potential solutions to overcome environmental, technical, economic, political and societal issues in the region for sustainable potato production in the coming years and decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-547
JournalPotato Research
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Industrial agri-food production
  • Production practices
  • Sustainability
  • Value-chain


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