The Irish Farmers Association reports that retail demand has eased slightly, although colder weather forecasted should improve trade again in Ireland. The food service sector continues to prosper, despite it traditionally being a quieter period. Prices for the fresh sector in Europe are currently described as holding or slightly easier. Export demand is very quiet.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released a report containing detailed statistics on the value of the 2020 crop sold in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, as well as figures related to total yield, quantity of potatoes used for processing, and more. The final value of Idaho’s 2020 potato crop sold was $912 million, down 5 percent from 2019.
The marketing year that ended in June 2021 was unlike any year the potato industry has ever experienced, says Potatoes USA in a news release issued today. “With pandemic restrictions ebbing and flowing from June 2020 to July 2021, sales at foodservice fluctuated while retail purchases remained extremely strong throughout the year,” the industry body says.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that markets and consumption in Ireland remain buoyant as consumers are back to work and school. Colder weather has also stabilised retail sales. Across Europe, first harvester liftings of maincrop indicate that yields are only going to be average at best and wastage levels are likely to be higher than normal, due to the adverse growing conditions this year.
The British ban on seed potatoes from the European Union is detrimental to the trade and cultivation in both Europe and the United Kingdom, writes David Stevenson in a news story for Talk Finance. A solution must be found, says Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Tom Bruijn. The ban on the marketing of seed potatoes is a political choice. It is the result of Brexit and not a technical issue, says Bruijn.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that retail and consumer demand have improved in the country this week as colder weather has returned and families are back into routines, following the holiday period. The hospitability sector continues to prosper despite the return of schools. European markets continue to regain confidence as economies are almost fully re-opened at this point.
The fight to get U.S. fresh potatoes into all of Mexico continues amid signs that the Mexican potato industry is shifting tactics to deflect imports, Kam Quarles told attendees at the Idaho Grower Shippers Association 93rd annual convention on Sept. 3. Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, also updated attendees on immigration reform, infrastructure legislation, and possible strategies by Democrats to get beyond a very narrow majority in Congress to advance their agenda.
Colorado’s San Luis Valley produces more fresh potatoes than anywhere in the country outside of Idaho, and farmers there are welcoming a ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico that clears the way for American potatoes to be sold in that country. But, as Nell London reports for Colorado Potato Radio, they’re also skeptical because the court decision is just the latest round in a trade dispute that has dragged on for nearly two decades.
The transition from old crop to new crop potatoes is taking place right now, and two potato industry observers report that expected reduced fresh shipments during the 2021-22 marketing year should provide a firm market. Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America For the 2020-21 season, Klompien said that fresh potato pricing seems to be finding stable footing this fall.
Market and consumer data analytics company A-INSIGHTS last week published its latest monthly newsletter on trends in the Frozen Potato Products industry, titled “May Insights”. Sector analysts at the company say global trade volume down 3.3%YTD compared to 2019, with prices down 3.5%YTD.
North Western Europe will have had one of its most humid summers in the last decades – in some areas in Belgium and Western Germany, rainfall at mid-July was an absolute historic high. The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports that since mid-July late blight problems have been a constant worry for growers, and spray costs will also be on a historic level.
Total U.S. potato exports increased by 4% in volume and 1% in value for July 2020 – June 2021 compared to the previous marketing year (MY). The rebound in exports was led by a 9% increase in fresh potatoes, a 10% increase in potato chips, and a 2% increase in frozen exports, accounting for 51% of the total. It is anticipated that with the continued easing of restrictions around the world, U.S. potato exports will continue to grow in MY22.
From July 2020 – June 2021, potato sales increased in dollars by 3% but declined slightly in volume by 0.3% compared to the previous July-June marketing year, according to Potatoes USA. Consumers bought 577 million more pounds of potatoes from July 2020 – June 2021 than July 2018 – June 2019. Refrigerated potatoes had the largest increase compared to the same period the previous year of 10.6% increase in dollars and a 5.3% increase in volume.
Last year, a total of 55.3 million tons of potatoes were harvested in the European Union. Most were harvested in Germany and end up as crisp or frozen chips. Germany was the largest producer and accounted for 21.2 per cent of EU production. The overall value of EU processed potato production reached € 9.1 billion in 2019.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that overall consumption and demand have plateaued over the past week in Ireland. Demand for processing material continues to pick up as we continue into the holiday period and indoor dining is expanding. Across Europe, early processing crops are catching up but yields are still behind the multi-year average.
The Daily Mail reports that the UK is facing a shortage of chips due to high demand for British potatoes from the Continent. According to the report, experts predict the British crop will be in short supply after floods decimated potato production in Europe. A report revealed frozen chips are likely to be particularly affected – with a warning of steep price rises.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that overall, consumption and demand have improved over the past 10 days in Ireland, following the return of cooler weather conditions. Estimates put the area damaged by the storms two weeks ago in Belgium, Holland and Germany at around 20,000 ha’s. A full assessment can only be made once the crop reaches maturity.
The National Potato Council met virtually for the summer meeting last week. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles says there’s work to do across all issue areas including infrastructure, immigration reform and fresh potato market access with Mexico.
Anti-dumping tariffs on frozen French fries imported from the Netherlands and Germany have expired, leaving the South African potato industry vulnerable to ‘dumping’. Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes South Africa (Potatoes SA), said “The previous protection mechanism [proved] to be effective in ensuring the sustainability [of the local industry], and there is more than significant case law to suggest it to be necessary.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told Mexican government officials Wednesday that the country needs to resume its stalled process of approving genetically modified crops and pressed for an update on the country’s progress on increasing access for U.S. potatoes. Separately, National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles tells Agri-Pulse he’s pleased Tai is pressing Mexican officials on allowing more U.S. spuds into the country.
A trade row between Brussels and London threatened to erupt tonight after UK ministers banned the import of seed potatoes from EU countries in a victory for Scottish farmers. Defra restricted the imports of seed potatoes from the European Union after deciding not to renew a six-month authorisation. Scottish farming chiefs welcomed the news and claimed any extension to the grace period had the potential to “devastate” the industry.
Defra’s decision not to extend the derogation which allowed seed potatoes from Europe into the UK while Scottish growers were banned by the EU from trade in the opposite direction has been widely welcomed in the sector. But while the “both ways or no ways” decision on such trade might help stave off short-term disaster within the Scottish seed sector, commentators feel it will do little to restart the trade.
It was announced last week that Mexican Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. in early August to meet with his American counterpart, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of the decades-long issue concerning Mexico’s ban on the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes. Today, NPC and state potato organizations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Tai, urging them to “maintain a ‘trust-but-verify’ stance with Mexico” as they continue their negotiations.
Farmers may have to cut the volume of Jersey Royal potatoes grown in a season if the Island’s biggest agricultural crop is to maintain its premium status, an industry leader has said. The Jersey Royal has dominated the UK early season fresh produce market for over a century – but farming developments in the potato sector, stiff competition from other agricultural regions and changing consumer habits threaten its market lead.
In 2020, Washington potato growers faced a staggering surplus of potatoes. In 2021, they’re banking on a revival of the food service industry, including in-person dining, improved shipping conditions and a just-opened Mexican market to help reverse the chaos left by the trade wars and Covid-19 pandemic. While markets normalize and consumer spending shifts back to spending on restaurants and services, there’s a lucrative spot on the potato horizon: Mexico.
The excitement that U.S. potato growers felt following an April 28 decision by the Mexican Supreme Court to open up that entire nation to fresh potato exports from the United States has been blunted somewhat. According to leaders of the Idaho and U.S. potato industries, the group that represents Mexico’s potato industry could be attempting to throw up a roadblock that could slow down or potentially stop the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes into all of Mexico.