In 2020, the three leaders in global potato production maintain their positions: China is nearing 100 million tonnes followed by India and Russia. Other major players on the market include Ukraine, the United States, and Germany. International potato price is on the rise due to higher production volumes in key areas.
Fresh potato production for the marketing year 2020/2021 in China is estimated at 99 million metric tonnes – an increase of 3% from the previous year. The growth comes primarily from the expanded acreage propelled by increased potato prices. The average wholesale price was $0.37 per kilogram of fresh potatoes – a growth of 11% compared to the previous year owing to higher prices for vegetables in general and the enhanced quality of the product. In China, the potato price is lower than the international average. Further expansion of the potato acreage in the country is expected over the next decade at the rate of 0.4% per year.
Chinese potato growers are implementing technological advancements which according to the projections will increase the potato yield by 0.5% annually and the overall production by 0,9% per year. Despite being the leader in global production, China exports a minimal share of domestic potatoes at around 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes annually mainly to Malaysia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
Situation in Europe
In Great Britain, the 2020 production of potatoes is estimated at around 5,37 million tonnes despite the year-on-year decline by 2.3% in planted area. However, over 1,2 million tonnes of potatoes remained on the farm at the end of March 2021, which accounts for 22% of the total production in 2020. This is largely due to Brexit and the pandemic curbing the demand.
In 2019 and 2020, the top global exporter of potatoes was France, but the pandemic hindered the trade. Between August 2020 and February 2021, the country has exported 1 million tonnes of potatoes at the value of €223,5 million – a decrease of 3.28% in volume and down by 23% in value compared to the previous marketing year. In February 2021, the weight of exports fell by 11% compared to the same month in 2020, while the price declined by 22% to €204 per tonne and resulted in revenues down by 30%.
The top global importer of potatoes in 2020 was Belgium but in 2021 the product is still in stock from the purchases made last year. The country imported the product for the value of $61 million – up by 4.45% compared to the previous year. The imports mainly came from European partners such as the Netherlands, France, the UK, and Germany.
Between July and March 2021, the United States exported a total of 376,730 tonnes of potatoes, of which 40% was delivered to Canada – decreasing by almost 12% from the same time last year. In the same period, almost 22% of US fresh potato exports reached Mexico where total shipments of the US-origin product were valued at $60 million in 2020. In April, Mexico’s Supreme Court overturned the ban on importation of fresh potatoes from the US throughout the entire country, which may potentially increase the value of the market to $200 million within the next five years.
On the African market, Egypt shifted its exports from Europe to Russia as the demand in Europe during the pandemic declined significantly. Morocco is expanding potato cultivation and intends to increase exports. Algeria continues to invest in the agricultural sector in efforts to become more self-sufficient, similarly to many other African countries. In Kenya, where potato is the second dominant crop after maize, the production is expected to reach 2,5 million tonnes in 2021 lifted from 2 million in 2020. Potato cultivation plays an important role in the country’s agriculture due to its productivity potential and benefits to the Kenyan diet.