Egypt experienced a significant surge in potato exports to Southeast Asia in 2022, according to a recent news report by EastFruit.
The North African nation exported over 17,000 tonnes of potatoes to Southeast Asian countries last year, marking a 120% increase compared to 2021 and an 18-fold increase compared to 2020. As a result, Southeast Asia now ranks as the fourth-largest market for Egyptian potatoes, following Russia, the European Union, and the Gulf States.
Indonesia remains the primary destination for Egyptian potato exports, with volumes more than doubling in 2022. Although Malaysia saw a sharp decline in imports from Egypt, other countries in the region received relatively minor shipments. Interestingly, Egypt expanded its export season beyond the traditional spring-summer months, with October shipments contributing to the record-breaking volume.
Despite being the leading potato producer in Southeast Asia, Indonesia imports between 40,000 and 80,000 tonnes of potatoes annually. The region as a whole, which includes Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines, receives up to 450,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes per year, in addition to frozen french fries. Although rice remains the staple food in Southeast Asia, potato consumption is steadily growing through imports and local production, driven in part by the region’s flourishing tourism industry.
Potato production in Southeast Asia faces challenges due to the region’s tropical climate, characterized by weather fluctuations and pest-related issues. One particular phenomenon affecting potato crops in Indonesia is the occurrence of upas dew, or “poisonous (or deadly) dew,” which can damage or destroy crops depending on the season. This phenomenon may account for the atypical increase in imports during certain months of the year.
The import structure of potatoes in Southeast Asia is unique, with China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh collectively supplying about two-thirds of the total volume. These potatoes are primarily sold in local markets and ethnic shops. Egypt’s growing presence in the Southeast Asian potato market signifies a promising opportunity for further expansion and collaboration within the region.
Source: EastFruit. Original news article published here
Cover photo: Credit EastFruit