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W5: Weekly Common & Sweet Potato Update

Updated Feb 10, 2023
Tridge's global market analysts and country representatives analyze what happened in W5 in the global common and sweet potato market. In summary, global potato production is expected to fall by 6% to 354.3M MT from 376.1M MT in 2021. In NEPG countries, 2022 potato plantations increased by 2.9% to 512.4K ha, but production decreased by 5.3%, leading to record high contract prices, which have risen by 30-45%. Dutch potatoes that are cut into fries have doubled in price in a year and a half to about USD 32.18/100kg, which has hiked prices for fries. French potato consumption grew by 1.5%, with a sale price of USD 1.33/kg. Lastly, the Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture aims to promote sweet potato cultivation across the country.


Global Potato Production in 2022 Decreases After Record Year 2021 (Jan 31)

Figures published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and included in the World Potato Markets report point to a record global yield of 376.1M MT in 2021, the French Inter-professional Committee of the Potato (CNIPT) reports. "Worldwide, the area increased by 7.4% to 18M ha, the highest level since 2013. The largest growth was recorded in Asia, with an increase of 15% to 10.3M ha. The European area is estimated to have decreased in 2021 by 3.5% to 4.3M ha. Average yields declined in all major growing regions except Oceania. Asia continued to produce more than half of the world's potatoes in 2021. Yields increased by 15.3% to 197.5M MT. China clocked in at 94.4M MT and India at 54.2M MT. Europe is the second largest producing region with 102.5M MT, 3.8% less than the previous year. Africa is the third producer, with 28M MT, a stable level. Precise data are not yet available for 2022 (preliminary figures are based on data from the FAO and on national statistics from various countries), but world production is expected to fall by 6% to 354.3M MT. The fall could be due to a reduction in area and especially unfavorable weather conditions," the report concludes.


More Sown but Less Harvested in the North-West of the EU (Jan 30)

The NEPG countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium) have planted more potato areas in 2022, some 14.42K ha more (+2.9%) up to 512.4K ha. However, the lower yields per ha (-6.3%) led to a global production of 21.69MT (-5.3%, a reduction of 1.2MT). Demand for potatoes is good, with North West European industries keen to buy potatoes for the remainder of the season and 2023/24, leading to record high contract prices, which have risen by 30- 45%. These higher prices should cover much higher production costs, as well as the inflation that growers face, being an attraction for the farmer to plant potatoes. Processors will need at least 500K more tons in 2023/24. Yields per hectare in NEPG countries have been declining over the past 10 years.

Food Service to See Increased Business in Ireland, EU Potato Sales to the UK Up (Feb 2)

Retail sales remain unchanged in W5 in Ireland, the food service sector should reflect some increased business with the bank holiday weekend, according to the Irish Farmers Association. IFA says demand for peeling stock remains positive with price holding strong. Early plantings are underway with ground conditions improving. Good progress should be made over the weekend if conditions allow. In Europe, fresh markets are reported to be flat but there is good export movement. Sales of products from the EU to the UK were 818.42K MT and up 13.2% in the year to October 2022. In the UK, early plantings have commenced, there have been some ground frosts but conditions are “surprisingly good” and planting of first Lady Rosetta for crisping is “imminent”. Trade is slow in Europe, but sellers are hoping for higher values. Buyers want quality samples but are not prepared to pay the price. There has been the occasional small increase for premium washed and branded lines.


Expensive Dutch Potatoes Make Fries More Expensive (Jan 30)

Dutch potatoes that are cut into fries have doubled in price in a year and a half to about USD 32.18/100kg (30 euros), which has had serious consequences for fries prices. "Especially in Germany, Belgium and France, a dry summer led to mediocre harvests. The potato harvest in the Netherlands was still quite good. This creates extra demand for Dutch potatoes from surrounding countries," says Bas Janssens, researcher at Wageningen University & Research. NL. 

United Kingdom

The British Potato Growers Underestimate Their Own Sector (Jan 30)

According to industry experts, British potato growers massively underestimate the economic importance of their sector. This could well be USD 4.83B (£4.5B), rather than the commonly used estimate of USD 820.58M (£765M). At the SAC Association of Potato Producers (SACAP) conference in Dundee, SRUC senior agricultural economist Steven Thomson told his audience that underestimating the sector makes the sector less politically important. According to Thomson, the economic impact of potatoes goes far beyond the farm. He said USD 1.07 (£1) potato production equates to USD 4.04 (£3.77) downstream and added that households and the hospitality industry, including fish-and-chip shops, across the UK spend around USD 4.29B (£4B) on potatoes, of which about 70% (representing about USD 3.22B (£3B) is grown domestically.

Nematode-Resistant Potatoes Introduced in Scotland (Jan 31)

The James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Invergour, Scotland, released the results of a groundbreaking farm trial of potato varieties resistant to Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) in W4. Due to scientists from JHI, SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy, SRUC and SASA who worked together on this Scottish government funded project, new potato varieties have been proven to be highly resistant to PCN and suitable for growing in the Scottish climate. “Although we already know about potato varieties that do not allow PCN to multiply because they are resistant to infection, they can still cause significant crop losses. Despite the resistance, the root system can still be eaten by pests. Thus, farmers record a decrease in yields or apply pesticides that may not be available in the future,” said one of the institute’s scientists, Dr. Philip Burgess.


Potato Consumption in France Grows by 1.5%, With a Sale Price of USD 1.33/KG (Jan 30)

Potato purchases in French households increased in volume, according to the latest Kantar report that includes the French Inter-professional for this product, between November 28 and December 25, 2022: 6.4% compared to the year 2021, and 3% compared to 2019, the year before COVID. The December results are mainly due to increased activity in the week before Christmas. Compared to the aforementioned 2019, purchases increased in supermarkets, by 5.7%, while they fell by 8.2% in specialized channels. In electronic commerce, which represented 7% of the total in this period, the volumes purchased grew by 38%. Local stores gained 5.2%. On the other hand, purchases fell in hypermarkets (-1.8%) and supermarkets (-2.7%). Regarding the formats purchased, in supermarkets, the formats sold between 1 and 2 kg continue to register good results, with an increase of 85% in volume compared to the previous year. The sizes sold in 5 kg have grown by 47%, due to above all to the fact that the number of references of this type has doubled. The average price of purchased potatoes increased by 9.8% compared to 2019 in the same monthly period to stand at USD 1.33/kg (1.24 euros) on average in supermarkets.


INIA Presents a New Potato Variety With High Genetic Quality for Peru (Jan 30)

The National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) of the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (MIDAGRI) reported that it made available "to producers in the Cajamarca region and throughout Peru, a new potato variety with high genetic quality that will increase the productivity per hectare. This is the Inia 333 Chugayna potato variety, which, due to its high genetic quality, offers a yield of 47M/ha, its vegetative reproduction system (clonal propagation), guarantees its stability practically 100%. This will favor the producer's economy. Another characteristic is its maturation capacity. 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.


Tridge Analysis: Turkey Bans the Export of Potatoes and Onions to Prevent Further Price Hikes (Feb 2)

The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture banned the export of potatoes and onions due to increased prices, in an attempt to stabilize local supply in the domestic market. This could potentially stifle the export of these commodities mainly to neighboring countries such as Bulgaria, Georgia, and Jordan as well as to the United Arab Emirates, a rising market in the 2016-2021 period. Experts point out that the main reason for increased prices was the enlargement of input costs such as fertilizers, along with increased energy costs needed for storing. (Continue  Reading)


Potato Prices Have Risen in Ukraine (Jan 31)

Prices for potatoes in Ukraine started to rise faster after the New Year holidays. From last year's harvest, the price of red potatoes had risen the most. At the same time, the price had increased for the second month in a row. It was cheapest in November 2022. White potatoes rose in price for the third month in a row. The cheapest was in October 2022. The agricultural market has started a process that analysts had predicted at the beginning of autumn last year. They said that before the New Year holidays, the price of potatoes would be low because the growers would sell low-quality products that could not be stored for a long time. However, from the second half of winter it will be the turn of high-quality potatoes that are stored for long-term storage. And of course these potatoes will not be cheap. The price of new potatoes had also risen sharply. Compared to November, they have become almost 50% more expensive.


Ministry of Agriculture Registers Red Potato With EU (Feb 3)

The Ministry of Agriculture of Cyprus is about to register the red potato, the country's second most important agricultural product, with the European Union. The application for registration has been published in the Official Gazette of Cyprus. According to Minister Costas Kadis, there will be a one-month period for objections before the application is forwarded to the European Commission. Kadis stressed the importance of the registration of potatoes as a protection against potatoes of other origins being marketed as Cypriot potatoes.


Uzbekistan increased potato production by 4.8% in 2022 (Jan 30)

In 2022, over 3.4M MT of potatoes were produced in Uzbekistan, which is 4.8% more than in the same period last year. According to preliminary data from the country's statistical office, in 2022, the total production of potatoes in Uzbekistan amounted to 3.442M MT, which is 156.K MT more than in 2021. Starting from mid-July 2022, wholesale potato prices in Uzbekistan have been stable and fluctuated in a rather narrow price band. According to EastFruit price monitoring, the average wholesale price for these products for the period from July 15 to December 31, 2022 was in the range of USD 0.35- 0.40/kg (4K - 4.5K sum), except for a short period in the second half of August last of the year. In January 2023, wholesale prices for potatoes in Uzbekistan reacted to the anomalous cold for this region with a sharp increase, from USD 0.35- 0.44/kg (4K to 5K sum) for the period from January 6 to 20, as well as other types of vegetables. However, over the past week, prices for these products have decreased and as of January 27, 2023, the average wholesale price of potatoes in Uzbekistan amounted to USD 0.40/kg (4.5K UZS), which is 10% lower compared to the same date in 2022. 


Tajikistan Bans Export of Onions, Potatoes and Carrots (Jan 30)

The export of onions, potatoes and carrots is prohibited in Tajikistan until the new crop is harvested. "At the last meeting of the government, it was instructed to temporarily ban the export of these products until the situation on the market stabilizes," the head of the Ministry of Agriculture said, adding that the measure is associated with rising prices for these types of products. According to him, there are currently enough stocks of these vegetables in Tajikistan and, if properly used, they will last until the next harvest, which usually begins in late March and early April. In 2022, more than 190K MT of agricultural products were exported from Tajikistan, which is 17.6K MT less compared to 2021. At the same time, in money terms, exports amounted to USD 54.3M in 2022, which exceeds the same indicator in 2021 by USD 17.6M. According to the ministry, over 40% of agricultural exports were vegetables, fruits, about 30%.


Eritrea Promotes Sweet Potato Cultivation (Feb 3)

The Ministry of Agriculture of Eritrea has launched a major initiative to promote the cultivation of sweet potatoes across the country in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education and local governments. Under this initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture has started integrated awareness programs so that all villages and schools start growing sweet potatoes during the course of 2023. This program has been included as one of the Ministry's top priorities. Asmeret Damir, spokeswoman for the ministry, said she will work closely with the ministry to promote the sweet potato until it becomes a staple food in families with children under the age of five.

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