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Big changes on potato market during first half of 2014

World market for consumption potatoes stabilizes

Starting in 2011, the global (commercial) production of potatoes seems to be stabilizing at 370 million tons. Until that time, there was clear evidence of growth. It is true that production is still growing in some countries. Examples are China and India (together accounting for 37% of the world total), Bangladesh, Egypt, Peru, Malawi, Algeria, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. In many countries, production decreases. Major countries where this is the case include Russia, the United States, Poland, Belarus and the United Kingdom.

The majority of the potatoes are consumed in the country of origin, or domestically. World trade in ware potatoes has a volume of 10 million tons. Over 1.5 million tons of seed potatoes is traded annually. The global trade of ware potatoes appears to be stabilizing since 2011, after having undergone continuous growth before that. A market that is still growing worldwide, is that of processed potatoes. Last year, 7.4 million tons was traded internationally for a (statistical export) value of 6.6 billion Euro.

Dutch share in global export 20%
In the total world trade of potatoes, the Netherlands has an export share of around 20%. From all seed potatoes traded worldwide, the Netherlands is market leader with a share of over 60%. In regard to the global trade in potato products, the Dutch share is about 25%, while the Dutch share in ware potatoes is just over 10%.

While the Dutch stake in seed potatoes is even greater in recent years, the share in the export of ware potatoes and potato products is actually declining, at least when it comes to quantities. In terms of value, the ratios are about the same, but because of price changes, the picture is less clear.
In ware potatoes, the Dutch share as an importer lies between 15 and 20%.

Larger Dutch acreage
The Dutch ware potato acreage is a lot bigger again this year. Last year there was already considerable growth. The 74,000 hectares this year is slightly larger than the 2011 acreage. We need to go back to the beginning of this century for an even larger acreage. Initial reports indicate that the production of ware potatoes may be approaching 2011, namely 3.9 million tons.
The acreage of seed potatoes this year, is slightly less than 40,000 ha.

Majority of trade within EU
While ware potatoes are shipped all over the world, international trade is still overwhelmingly focused on the region. Of the 6.8 million tons exported by all EU countries last year, less than half a million tons went to countries outside the EU. In previous years, when Russia was still in the market, that amount was higher, reaching nearly one million tons in 2011. Of total imports, about half a million tons came from outside the EU last year.

Dramatic decrease import in the UK
In the first half of this year, more major shifts have occurred in the ware potato market. Two of the foremost markets, Germany and the United Kingdom, imported tens of percent less than in the first half of last year. Germany imported mainly from the Netherlands and France, but considerably less so. France also saw a large decline in export to the UK.
Despite this sharp drop in French export, overall import in the first half of this year remained relatively stable. French potatoes predominantly found their way to Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland.

Dutch export drops with 25%
Based on preliminary figures, the Dutch export of ware potatoes in the first half of this year seems to have dropped by 25%. In addition to the sharp decline in exports to the British market, the Russian Market also dropped out of view.
Many Western European countries import and export large amounts of ware potatoes. And there is also a great deal of mutual trade. Netherlands is the main recipient of Belgium and its second supplier. Incidentally, exports to the Netherlands rose sharply in the first half of this year.

2013 export to Africa and America drops sharply
According to CBS data, the Netherlands exported 1.1 million tons of ware potatoes over 2013. Of these, 0.93 million tons went to European countries, almost all EU countries. Belgium and the United Kingdom were big customers, as was Senegal. Other African countries are also good buyers of Dutch potato produce. Last year though, exports to Africa dropped sharply. In 2012, over 180,000 tons was shipped to the continent, last year it was less than 130,000 tons.

More information:
Fruit & Vegetable Facts
Jan Kees Boon
T: +31 6 54 687 684
E: [email protected]

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