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UK: 2019/20 international potato trade drops

The latest HMRC trade data covers up to June 2020 giving the full season of July-June 2019/20. Data shows that both imports and exports of potatoes (both fresh and frozen) were down year-on-year and against the 3-year average, reports Alice Bailey, Senior Analyst Potatoes at AHDB.

Import

Imports of fresh and processed potatoes (product weight) for the 2019/20 season totalled 1.03Mt. This is down 10% from the 3-year average and 33% year-on-year.

Imports of fresh potatoes for the 2019/20 season totalled 203.0Kt, down 3% year-on-year. 830.9Kt of processed potato products were imported into the UK from July-June which is a drop of 38% year-on-year. Processed potato imports have been lagging behind last season since March but the drop has increased as the months have progressed.

The top 5 import origins of processed and fresh potatoes generally make up c.91% of total imports and in 2019/20 this has not differed. However, we have seen a drop in imports from all of the top 5 origins compared to the previous season and all but 1 of the top 5 against the 3-year average.

A drop in imports is not unexpected as the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavily on demand as a whole since March 2020. With overall demand reduced the need for imports would also drop off.

Export

Exports of fresh and processed potatoes have also dropped off. Exports of fresh potatoes have been tracking well behind both the 2018/19 season and the 3-year average since February. Last season (2018/19), especially in the latter half of the season, we saw a big rise in exports of fresh potatoes to Eastern Europe.

In just January

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