W20: Potato Update

In W20 in the potato landscape, the wholesale price of imported potatoes in the Moldovan market fell by 10-15% in the first half of May 2023 to below USD1/kg, while the quality of imported potatoes (Macedonia) declined due to low demand, turnover, and irregular deliveries. In urban wholesale markets, the average price for last year's potatoes rose by USD 0.01/kg due to the appreciation of the Moldovan leu. In the Netherlands, the Dutch environmental regulations may have a significant effect on the potato processing industry. The upcoming rule mandating the harvest of potatoes grown on sandy soil by October 1, 2023, has raised concerns among processors regarding their capacity to produce enough potatoes for its frozen French fries for exports. The regulation's objective is to prevent hazardous nitrates and nitrogen compounds from entering the groundwater by mandating planting of catch crops that rapidly develop intermediate plants that take up nitrogen. The government aims to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50% nationwide by 2030. German arable farmers are growing 267K ha of potatoes in 2023, a growth of 0.2% YoY. Germany is the second country in Northwest Europe where potato cultivation is not or hardly growing, while potato processors are trying to persuade farmers with higher contract prices. The industry needs more potatoes to meet its growth ambitions in sales.

The price of potatoes in all wholesale markets in Brazil monitored by Hortifruti/Cepea dropped between May 15 and 19, 2023 due to high supply and quality problems related to the caliber and skin of tubers. In São Paulo, potatoes were traded at an average of USD 13.18, a 16.42% decrease WoW, in Rio de Janeiro at USD 14.04, a 4.40% decrease WoW, and in Belo Horizonte at 6.91% decrease WoW. In the US, the University of Maine's Agricultural Research and Development Farm tests 250 new potato varieties annually, led by agronomy professor Greg Porter, to find improved varieties that produce well, show pest and disease tolerance, and are suitable for changing climate conditions. Further, a group of bipartisan legislators is seeking to expand the US fresh potato market in Japan. Kam Quarles, the head of the National Potato Council, estimated that the potential increase in US potato exports could be between USD 150M and USD 200M annually.

The Egyptian government has launched the New Delta megaproject, targeting potatoes to meet domestic demand and increase exports. Egyptian producers offer attractive prices, averaging USD 343.61/T FOB in 2023. Global climate changes have disrupted potato production and caused changes in purchasing channels, strengthening Egypt's position in Spain. In the 2023 season, more farmers have turned to potato cultivation, leading to competitive prices. Exporters hope to improve their position by planting new varieties of potatoes such as Annabelle. Lastly, Uzbekistan consumes 4MMT of potatoes every year, 80% of which is grown in the country while the remaining 20% is imported. To increase production, the country proposes to develop unused and arid lands to meet domestic demand.

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