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W4: Weekly Common & Sweet Potato Update

Updated Feb 2, 2023
Tridge's global market analysts and country representatives analyze what happened in W4 in the global commons and sweet potato market. In summary, In Belgium, Farmers must take several "new" risks into account, including those related to climate change, geopolitics (such as the conflict in Ukraine), water access, and tighter EU fertilizer rules. Potato producers in India have experienced significant crop losses. In 2022, global potato output will decrease by 6%. Potato growers in Peru cannot harvest due to the reports of blockades on their Central highway, and droughts are another problem that might impact potato production. Additionally, growers in the Cajamarca area and all around Peru have access to a new potato variety (INIA 333 CHUGAYNA) with outstanding genetic quality that will boost productivity per hectare. With favorable prices, company concentrations, and rising demand throughout Europe, the Spanish potato industry is seeing substantial growth. Lastly, potato shortages and increased costs are expected for British customers as British farmers start to give up farming potatoes.


North Western European Potato Growers Face a Multitude of Risks, Disruptions in the Industry Expected in the Near Future (Jan 27)

The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) organization says lower yields per hectare resulted in an overall production decline for its member countries (-5.3% or 1.2M tons) this 2023. Demand for potatoes is currently good, with processing factories throughout northwestern Europe eager to buy potatoes. NEPG highlights that potato growers in its member countries face multiple risks. Farmers have to include a series of "new" risks to manage. These include climate change, geopolitical (i.e. the war in Ukraine), access to water, and tighter EU regulations regarding fertilizer use.


Frost Causes Heavy Damage to Potato, Vegetable Crops in North India (Jan 25)

Potato farmers in the northern parts of India have suffered heavy crop losses. Frost has also affected other vegetable crops and mustard across fields in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. The damage has reached up to 80% of the crop for farmers who planted some of the late varieties.


World Potato Production During 2022, Falls by 6% Compared to the Previous Campaign (Jan 27)

In 2021, there will be 376.1M tons of potatoes (all types and uses) worldwide. The world surface increased by 7.4%, up to 18M hectares, the highest level since 2013. Yields declined in all major producing regions except Oceania. Asia continued to produce more than half of the world's potatoes, with production increasing by 15.3% to 197.5M tons. By 2022, world production is forecasted to decline by 6%, to 354.3M tons, due to the combined effects of a decrease in area and unfavorable weather conditions.


Potato Growers Cannot Harvest Due to Announcements of Blockades on the Central Highway in Peru (Jan 26)

Potato growers in the Central and Southern regions of Peru cannot harvest this tuber due to announcements about future blockades on the Central Highway. The most affected farmers will be those who planted native potatoes in the small campaign to take advantage of the demand for the 2023 season. If the Central Highway is closed, the supply of Lima is in danger because 60% of the tuber load comes from regions such as Junín, Huánuco, Ayacucho, and Pasco. Droughts continuing in Southern Peru are another issue that might affect potato production.

INIA 333 Chugayna in the New Potato Variety With High Genetic Quality for Peru (Jan 27)

A new potato variety (INIA 333 CHUGAYNA) with high genetic quality that will increase productivity per hectare is made available to producers in the Cajamarca region and across Peru by the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) of the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (MIDAGRI). This variety offers a yield of 47 tons per hectare and can be planted from sea level to 4K meters above sea level. This variety, unlike the others, can reach its harvest level between 110 and 130 days, in addition to generating 21% dry matter. Meanwhile, its genetic composition makes it tolerant to the main pests and diseases. INIA 333 CHUGAYNA became a good alternative for producers in the Cajamarca region and other regions of Peru due to its excellent characteristics.


Scottish Scientists Discover Potato Varieties Resistant to Potato Cyst Nematodes (Jan 24)

New potato varieties have been developed that are highly resistant to Potato Phosphorus Neoplague (PCN) and suitable for growth in Scotland's climate. PCN is a pest that can lead to significant losses to potato yields as the root systems can still be eaten away by pests. The research was carried out by scientists from JHI, SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy, SRUC, and SASA.


The Spanish Potato Wants to Conquer Europe at a Time With Good Prices (Jan 28)

The Spanish potato business is experiencing a significant takeoff with good prices, business concentrations, and growing demand in Europe thanks to its quality, which makes it the best raw material for its fried version, either as a garnish or for the appetizer format in a bag.

South Africa

There Is No Potato Shortage but Load Shedding Is Making Food Production Harder in South Africa (Jan 25)

There was a concern that South Africans could face a severe shortage of French fries as it curbed imports from its usual European frozen chip markets. Potatoes SA's acting marketing manager, Jaco Koekemoer, said the country has a sufficient supply of fresh potatoes. There are 16 potato production regions across South Africa, and a continuous supply of potatoes is delivered to fresh produce markets daily. The major challenge facing potato producers was load shedding and its disruption of food production, as well as cheap imports.


Turkey Halts Potato and Onion Exports to Ensure Food Security (Jan 27)

In December 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Turkey decided to indefinitely halt the exports of fresh or chilled potatoes (HS code: 0701.90) and onions (HS code: 0703. The primary reason for this decision is to ensure food security and price stability in potatoes and onions within the country. Phytosanitary/health certificates will not be issued for export applications for potatoes or onions.

United Kingdom

In the UK, Signs of Recovery for Irish Potato Market (Jan 23)

The weakening of the British pound makes British supplies more accessible for export. Chip potato contracts are ahead of schedule, and conversion rates are very good with almost no rejections, but stocks are getting very tight. Potato transport is mainly on a contract basis, with only a limited supply of off-the-shelf purchases from growers across Europe. The fresh produce market in Ireland is showing signs of recovery after the holiday season, and there have been some price increases.

British Farmers Are Massively Abandoning the Cultivation of Potatoes (Jan 23)

British farmers are starting to move away from growing potatoes, leading to forecasts of higher prices and shortages of potatoes for British consumers. Potatoes are usually planted in spring and harvested from late August to October. However, many farmers have already decided to reduce the amount of land they will allocate to Britain's favorite vegetable in 2023, and some have decided to ditch the potato altogether.

British Farmers Are Turning Their Backs on Potatoes (Jan 24)

There are signs that British farmers are starting to turn their backs on the potato crops, leading to forecasts of higher prices and shortages for the British consumer. Potatoes are usually planted in the spring and harvested from late August to October. However, many growers have decided to allocate less land for potatoes in 2023.

British Farmers Are Giving up Growing Potatoes, the Cost of Production Has Increased (Jan 25)

British farmers are beginning to give up growing potatoes, leading to forecasts of higher prices and potato shortages for British consumers. The cost of producing potatoes has risen as the global economy struggles with rising inflation. Some farmers have already decided to reduce the area of ​​land they will dedicate to Britain's favorite vegetable this year, and some have given up potatoes altogether.

New Potato Varieties Resistant to Potato Cyst Nematodes in the UK (Jan 25)

Scientists have discovered new potato varieties resistant to the crop-destroying pest potato cyst nematodes (PCN) PCN can cause significant yield losses because the root systems can still be attacked by the pests. Some potato varieties not only prevent the multiplication of PCN but also grow well under high pest pressure, which leads to a more sustainable rotation.

Export of Ukrainian Potatoes to the EU Possible, but Not in the Short Term (Jan 26)

Ukrainian potato producers must unite for growing and washing, packaging, etc. These must be producers who have the necessary certificates, in particular, GlobalGAP. Ukrainian potatoes also need some marketing support in EU countries as they are virtually unknown to European buyers. Exporters from Middle East countries devote efforts and resources to promote their goods there.

British Farmers Massively Refuse to Grow Potatoes This Season (Jan 26)

UK farmers are refusing to plant potatoes en masse this season, leading to forecasts of higher prices and potato shortages for British consumers. The past year has been tough and stressful for many British farmers. The country's potato growers also experienced all the delights of the 2022 season: in addition to weather surprises, the total area of land for growing potatoes amounted to 119K hectares.

British Farmers Told Potatoes Are Underpinning the USD 4.9B (EUR 4.5B) Industry (Jan 26)

Potato growers have been told they are massively underestimating the economic significance of their sector which could be as high as USD 4.9B (EUR 4.5B) rather than the commonly-used estimate of USD 833.5M (EUR 765M), as Nancy Nicolson reports for The Courier.

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