Northern Ireland's potato growers have been told to expect a disastrous year with prices not likely to top more than 50 pounds (about $72) a ton.
Seed Potato Promotions of Northern Ireland said trading conditions in the export market are proving very difficult.
The reason is a price war with the Netherlands, which is seeking to make up lost sales in its traditional Algerian market. Algeria imported almost 105,000 tons of seed from the Netherlands from the 1999 crop but has signaled it will be buying 50-70 percent less this year.
The Dutch are now using price to unload their extra seed in Morocco where Northern Ireland sells a significant proportion of its Desiree and Nicola seed crop.