Belgium’s potato exports have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. A drop in sales has led to a large excess of potatoes with few consumers in sight. To boost sales, Belgium has urged citizens to patronize their local “fritkoten” twice a week, but it appears that Belgium will need some help to make a dent in its potato supply.
Belgium has asked its European neighbors for help eating more french fries, but it may not be enough. Belgium is the world’s largest exporter of potatoes, but with restaurants and bars, and large gatherings like sports games and concerts, shut down for the foreseeable future, Belgium has found itself with 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes with nowhere to go.
More than 40% of this year’s harvest is at risk of being thrown out due to the pandemic, but Belgium hasn’t completely given up. Officials have donated large quantities of potatoes to food banks, and they are looking for alternative uses for the potato supply.
Even with the surplus of the carb-heavy taters from Europe, the temporary shutdown of some meat-producing plants in the U.S. and the potential loss of workers who pick produce could help cause a potential global food shortage during the pandemic.