Japanese potato crisp-maker Calbee and its main rival Koike-Ya are facing a major crunch in their supply chain.

Both firms are said to be suspending sales or discontinuing several crisp brands after Japan suffered its worst potato harvest in at least 34 years.

According to reports, typhoons and floods in Hokkaido, its main potato-growing region, last year caused a shortage of the vegetable.

Calbee looked to cover the shortfall by increasing US potato imports, but that proved insufficient to meet demand.

According to Japan’s local media reports, including The Japan Times and The Manichi, Calbee and Koike-Ya are halting shipments of 49 potato crisp products.

Calbee, which owns more than half of Japan’s snack food market saw shares fell by more than 1 percent to a two-month low while Koike-ya, which is the country’s second-largest snack maker saw shares tumble by 3.5 percent yesterday.

Both companies declined to comment whether there would be an impact on their upcoming earnings.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, retail potato prices have been rising nearly 20 percent every month since last October.

The higher prices are being felt in Tokyo where 1 kg of potatoes now costs 402 yen ($3.60), compared with 336 yen in the same month a year ago, Reuters news agency said.

The agriculture ministry has been keeping records of harvests since 1983.

-BBC