Production/Agronomy, Trade/Markets/Prices, Trends

After strong growth, South African potato exports down 18%

South Africa is self-sufficient in potatoes. 2015 was an exceptionally good year with a harvest of 250 million 10kg bags, which fell to 214 million 10kg bags in 2016 due to drought and excessive heat. This year it appears as if the area under potatoes is somewhat less, but a better harvest than last year can be expected, says Dr André Jooste, CEO of Potatoes SA. Approximately 50 000 to 54 000ha is annually planted with potatoes. According to Potatoes SA, between 6 and 8% of South Africa’s total production of potatoes is exported to neighbouring countries, with a fraction destined for the Middle East and other parts of Africa. The value of exports reached a record 583 million South African Rand (€42 million) in 2014, according to the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz). However, explains Tinashe Kapuya, head of international trade at Agbiz: “From a volume perspective, exports for 2016 will expectedly be lower. We expect a fall from 155 667 tons in 2015, to about 120 000 tons in 2016 – which is an 18% decline.” More

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