U.S. Potato Exports Hit Record Levels

Published online: Aug 31, 2017 Articles Chris Koger
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The volume and value of all U.S. potato exports—including a 9 percent increase in fresh potatoes—hit record numbers in fiscal year 2017.

Potatoes USA reported the gains from July 2016-June 2017 on Aug. 29. Sales hit $1.76 billion, and volume reached 71.84 million hundredweight at their fresh weight equivalent, according to a Potatoes USA news release.

According to the release, potato exports were:

  • Fresh: 491,716 metric tons, up 9 percent;
  • Potato chips: 52,103 metric tons, up 5 percent;
  • Frozen: 1.03 million metric tons, up 3 percent;
  • Dehydrated: 122,063 metric tons, down 10 percent.

Frozen and dehydrated potatoes account for 60 percent and 24 percent of U.S. potato exports, respectively; fresh potatoes have 15 percent of the export market, according to the news release. Seed potatoes showed a 97 percent increase, according to the group, but those numbers aren’t definite because fresh potatoes are often misclassified as seed potatoes.

Japan is the largest export market for U.S. potatoes, followed closely by Canada. A total of 680,264 metric tons went to Japan in the past fiscal year, according to Potatoes USA, and 635,463 metric tons of fresh and processed potatoes were shipped to Canada. Mexico is in third place, with 527,464 metric tons of potatoes imported from the U.S. Fresh potato shipments are still restricted to a 26-kilometer zone in Mexico.

Potatoes USA is the marketing and promotion board for commercial potato growers. The organization sees growth opportunities for U.S. exporters, according to the release, even as the strong U.S. dollar and competition from the European Union challenge growers.

“However, prospects still look good for U.S. exports as the dollar has weakened over the past six months and U.S. processors are expanding capacity while ongoing efforts could increase access for U.S. fresh potatoes to a number of markets,” according to the release.

 

Source: The Packer