In 2023, United States (US) potato growers produced nearly 20 million metric tons (mt) of potatoes, a 9% year-over-year (YoY) increase, and the first growth since 2017. This surplus has led to ample supply and reduced prices for food suppliers. Gro's Commodities Tracker indicates a "low" supply risk level for potatoes in the US, indicating sufficient supply and limited price increases. The average potato prices have dropped significantly since Jul-23, more than 50% YoY decrease. The increased potato production is attributed to expanded acreage in Idaho, Colorado, and North Dakota, with favorable growing conditions contributing to higher yields.
The Netherlands has demonstrated its strong position in the global potato market, with significant exports to neighboring countries like Belgium, Germany, and France. Belgium exported almost 34 thousand tons of potatoes in Oct-23, a 3.3 thousand mt increase. Germany imported over 32 thousand tons of potatoes from the Netherlands, nearly double the amount from 2022. France also increased its potato imports, buying around 21 thousand tons. However, potato sales to African countries, including Senegal and Ivory Coast, have declined, with Mauritania and Mali purchasing fewer potatoes. Central and South America saw strong potato exports, reaching 7.1 thousand tons on Oct-23. Potato sales to Trinidad and Tobago were slightly lower, but increased purchases from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica compensated for the difference. These export trends highlight the Netherlands' influence in the global potato trade and its ability to cater to diverse market demands.
The Irish potato harvest is facing a rescue operation due to recent floods, with around 60% remaining. The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) committee chairman reported significant losses and expects the situation to worsen. Excess rainfall has led to soil erosion, increasing potato vulnerability to frost damage. The chairman is concerned about the financial impact on farmers, especially if further heavy rains are forecasted. The potato production season is delayed, and farmers may need financial assistance to overcome weather-related yield reductions.
Due to flooding, Belgian potato growers face challenges in harvesting 20 to 30% of their crop, threatening the quality. The late start to the growing season and heavy rainfall in Oct-23 and Nov-23 have delayed autumn work, causing potatoes to rot irreversibly. Even on non-flooded plots, water-saturated conditions are causing rot, affecting potatoes' quality and storage life. The trade organization advises growers to communicate problems promptly to find solutions, especially for contracted potatoes.
Germany's potato consumption trends have shifted, with a decline in table potatoes and an increase in processed products like french fries, potato salad, and chips. This shift is attributed to convenience, lifestyle changes, and culinary preferences. However, the decrease in overall consumption may be influenced by poor harvesting conditions, impacting the quality and availability of table potatoes. These trends reflect the dynamic nature of consumer choices and the adaptation of eating habits over time.