W37: Potato Update

In W37 in the potato landscape, despite Russian aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian farmers exported 19.8 thousand tons of fresh potatoes in the first half of 2023, 2.3 times more than in 2022 and 3.8 times more than the average over the previous five years. However, high potato exports from Ukraine often coincide with significant problems for growers, as the wholesale price of potatoes in the country was only USD 0.16 per kilogram (kg) at the end of Mar-23. This low price cannot cover the production costs of potatoes and high-quality seed material.

In Bangladesh, potato prices have surged despite a record potato harvest of 10.4 million tons in 2023. Potato prices have increased by USD 0.046/kg, reaching USD 0.41/kg (BDT 45/kg) in Dhaka's markets. This price increase can be due to a situation where the supply of potatoes is falling short of the demand. The current potato price is 57% higher compared to last year’s prices. The slower release of stocks by large-scale traders and farmers is a key factor driving this price increase. As a result, consumers are experiencing higher costs for this staple food item in Bangladesh.

Uzbekistan imported a record volume of marketable potatoes in the first five months of 2023, with 75% of this volume imported from Mar-23 to May-23. The total volume of imported potatoes worth USD 33.9 million was 314.4 thousand tons, 12% more than in 2022/21. In comparison, Uzbekistan imported 280.7 thousand tons from Jan-22 to May-22, and in 2021, the previous record was set at 281.1 thousand tons. Three-quarters of the total volume of imported potatoes from Jan-23 to May-23 accounted for the total share of three months, from March to May. Significant delays in the new potato crop harvesting caused the increase in potato imports from Mar-23 to May-23. EastFruit analysts predicted an increase in potato imports in the first half of 2023.

Bhutan experienced a significant decrease in potato production in 2022 due to potato seed aging and declining quality. The National Centre for Organic Agriculture (NCOA) reported a 19% decrease in potato production of 31.1 thousand metric tons in 2022/23, a 19% year-over-year (YoY) decline. Despite this, Bhutan continues to generate substantial revenue from potato exports, with potatoes remaining one of the highest cash crops exported to India.Several major potato-producing regions in Bhutan reported lower harvests in 2022, with Wangdue harvesting 10.3 thousand mt, Paro recording 2.9 thousand mt, and Mongar producing 2.6 thousand mt. From 2018 to 2022, Bhutan managed to harvest 44.2 thousand mt of potatoes, but the number of potato growers declined from 33.7 thousand in 2021 to 33 thousand in 2022.

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