Potato export data
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. In many contexts, potato refers to the edible tuber, but it can also refer to the plant itself. Common or slang terms include tater and spud. Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish. Today they are a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world’s food supply. As of 2014, potatoes were the world’s fourth-largest food crop after maize (corn), wheat, and rice.
Following millennia of selective breeding, there are now over 1,000 different types of potatoes. Over 99% of presently cultivated potatoes worldwide descended from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile, which have displaced formerly popular varieties from the Andes.
Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species traced a single origin for potatoes. In the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia, from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex, potatoes were domesticated approximately 7,000–۱۰,۰۰۰ years ago. In the Andes region of South America, where the species is indigenous, some close relatives of the potato are cultivated.
Being a nightshade similar to tomatoes, the vegetative and fruiting parts of the potato contain the toxin solanine and are not fit for human consumption. Normal potato tubers that have been grown and stored properly produce glycoalkaloids in amounts small enough to be negligible to human health, but if green sections of the plant (namely sprouts and skins) are exposed to light, the tuber can accumulate a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health.
The importance of the potato as a food source and culinary ingredient varies by region and is still changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe, especially eastern and central Europe, where per capita production is still the highest in the world, while the most rapid expansion in production over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia, with China and India leading the world in overall production as of 2014.
Global sales from potatoes exports by country totaled US$4.1 billion during 2017 for spuds in their raw form. In addition, the value of shipments for prepared or preserved potatoes including frozen French fries represents another $9.3 billion.
The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for raw potatoes is 0701. The 6-digit prefix for frozen prepared or preserved potatoes including French fries is 200410 while 200520 is the 6-digit prefix for unfrozen potatoes prepared or preserved with vinegar or acetic acid.
Overall, the value of raw potatoes exports declined in value by an average -11.2% for all exporting countries since 2013 when raw potatoes shipments were valued at $4.6 billion. Total prepared or preserved potatoes shipments including frozen French fries appreciated by 6.9% over the same 5-year period.
Potatoes export by countries: raw
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of unprocessed raw potatoes shipped during 2017:
- Netherlands: US$799.6 million (19.4% of exported raw potatoes)
- France: $584.6 million (14.2%)
- Germany: $387.8 million (9.4%)
- China: $281.1 million (6.8%)
- Egypt: $272.7 million (6.6%)
- United States: $239.1 million (5.8%)
- Canada: $237.5 million (5.8%)
- Belgium: $209.9 million (5.1%)
- United Kingdom: $126.4 million (3.1%)
- Spain: $105.5 million (2.6%)
- Israel: $82.9 million (2%)
- Pakistan: $81 million (2%)
- Italy: $57 million (1.4%)
- South Africa: $54.9 million (1.3%)
- Cyprus: $54.2 million (1.3%)
The above countries produced 86.6% of raw potatoes exports in 2017.
Five among the above countries posted increases in the international sales of unprocessed spuds since 2013. Gainers were China (up 120.4%), Egypt (up 32.5%), Canada (up 31.5%), South Africa (up 20.2%) and the United States (up 9.9%).
Of the remaining 10 potatoes suppliers, the fastest decliners were Italy (down -40.3%), Pakistan (down -37.9%), United Kingdom (down -30.2%) and Germany (down -29.6%).
Potatoes exports by country: prepared or preserved
Frozen prepared or preserved potatoes including French fries amounted to $7 billion in export sales for 2017 (thus equaling 80.3%), while international shipments of unfrozen prepared or preserved potatoes were worth another $2.3 billion (representing 19.7%).
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of prepared or preserved potatoes during 2017, including both frozen and unfrozen goods.
- Netherlands: US$2.2 billion (23.4% of exported prepared/preserved potatoes)
- Belgium: $2 billion (21.9%)
- United States: $1.4 billion (15.3%)
- Canada: $1.1 billion (11.5%)
- Germany: $436 million (4.7%)
- France: $421.2 million (4.5%)
- Poland: $274.3 million (2.9%)
- United Kingdom: $266 million (2.9%)
- Argentina: $171.9 million (1.8%)
- Spain: $93.4 million (1%)
- Mexico: $87.7 million (0.9%)
- New Zealand: $70.1 million (0.8%)
- Egypt: $69.5 million (0.7%)
- Austria: $66 million (0.7%)
- Russia: $54 million (0.6%)
The 15 countries listed immediately above shipped 92.5% of all prepared or preserved spuds in 2017, regardless if frozen or unfrozen.
Fastest-growing among the above countries since 2013 were: Spain (up 105.8%), Austria (up 58.8%), Poland (up 19%), Egypt (up 18.4%) then the Netherlands (up 16.1%).
The five suppliers that experienced declines in their exported prepared or preserved potatoes sales were: Argentina (down -23.8%), Russia (down -22.5%), New Zealand (down -15.3%), Mexico (down -5.9%) and Germany (-5.4%).
One final note to crown the indisputable potato king of international trade: Dutch exporters placed first in the international trade of both raw and processed spuds.