Published online: Sep 16, 2011 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting, Seed Potatoes
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U.S. potato and product exports were a record $1,350,213,480 and 1,366,649 metric tons for the July 2010-June 2011 fiscal year. This is a 15 percent increase in value and 11 percent increase in volume. On a fresh weight equivalent basis, this represents over 59 million cwt of fresh potatoes that were exported, or approximately 16 percent of total US production.

Frozen potato products were still the largest category, accounting for 60 percent of the total at $808 million. Japan remains the largest market at $294 million. Despite the poor economic performance in that country over the past five years and the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami, exports still increased by 43 percent from FY07 to FY11. Exports to Canada were $83 million. China is now the third-largest export market for U.S. frozen potatoes at $62 million, followed by Mexico at $57 million and South Korea at $49 million. Exports to Mexico increased 40 percent during FY11 following the reduction of the retaliatory tariff from 20 to 5 percent in August 2010.

Dehydrated potato exports, while third in value, are the second largest export by fresh weight equivalent volume at 16 million cwt. The value of dehy exports rose 11 percent in FY11 to $173 million. Canada is the largest export market for dehy at $62 million; however, it is suspected a large quantity of that is re-exported to markets in Asia. Exports to Mexico declined 8 percent in FY11 to $27 million. Exports to Japan declined less than one percent in FY11 to $26 million, but are still up 18 percent for the past five years. Exports to China and the Philippines for FY11 increased 198 percent and 482 percent to $8 and $7 million, respectively.

Exports of fresh potatoes (both for table-stock as well as processing use) increased 34 percent in value to $186 million and 14 percent by volume to 399,023 metric tons. Canada remains the main destination accounting for 262,579 metric tons.

Export volume to Mexico declined 10 percent to 65,732 metric tons due to high U.S. prices, but still increased 13 percent in value to $32 million. South Korea became the third-largest market based on volume at 13,428 metric tons, followed closely by Malaysia at 10,919 metric tons. In both cases chipping potatoes account for at least half of U.S. exports to the markets.

Seed potato exports increased 24 percent to 23,428 metric tons valued at $12 million. However, exports of fresh potatoes often get incorrectly categorized as seed, and thus it is misleading to analyze these figures too closely.

Potato chip exports, mainly fabricated chips made from dehy, increased 25 percent to $171 million, led by strong exports to Canada and Mexico.

SOURCE: United States Potato Board