Analysis potatoes

Deceptive appearance in seed potato export

May 27, 2024 - Jesse Torringa

From the recent figures of the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO), it appears that the export to Europe is 'only' 2% behind last season. The coarser size sorting distorts these figures slightly. Southern Europe has taken more than last season so far, while Belgium and Germany are lagging behind.

In total, 407,812 tons of seed potatoes were exported to Europe up to April 30, compared to 415,289 last season in the same period, which is a small 2% less. The NAO figures show that exports to Southern European countries started early this season and they took on average a bit more than last year. For example, Spain took 45,000 tons, 12% more, and Italy saw a 13% increase in volume. Volume, because the coarser size sorting of this year likely has some impact on the export figures. After all, it's about tons and not about potatoes. Especially when you consider that the comparison is now with last year (harvest 2022), when a record amount of seed potatoes was exported.

Belgium and Germany are lagging behind
Western European countries are taking (so far) slightly less than last season. Belgium took 95,000 tons, 7% less, and Germany is lagging behind by 6%, while France also decreased by 4%. In the month of May, there could still be some additional volume, especially considering the late potato planting in Western Europe, which caused buyers to not be in a hurry to take potatoes. This is the case in some instances for Belgium and Germany. Furthermore, there are few remarkable points in the export to Europe, except for Austria, which took 2,749 tons, or 49% less.

According to the NAO, approximately 50,000 tons were exported to countries surrounding Europe but not part of Europe. Last year, it was 57,000. This includes countries like Turkey, Ukraine, and Moldova. It is noteworthy that Russia did not take anything this year, whereas last year it took almost 5,000 tons. Turkey took about the same amount, around 22,000, as the previous year.

Total seed potato export significantly behind
In contrast to that to Europe, the total seed potato export is significantly behind compared to last season. This can be explained by well below-average exports to Africa and Asia. Africa took over 60,000 tons less seed potatoes, leaving the continent at 131,000 tons. Asia also significantly decreased with 80,000 tons, while last season it was at 120,000 tons. Together, this accounts for 100,000 tons less.

Jesse Torringa

Jesse Torringa is a market specialist in seed potatoes and organic potatoes, onions, and carrots at DCA Market Intelligence.
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