Worldwide demand for fresh and frozen potatoes continues to climb and U.S. growers sold more than 1.5 million metric tons worth almost $1.6 billion during the marketing year that ended June 30.
This was a 10 percent increase in volume and a 17 percent increase in value over the previous marketing year, according to the United States Potato Board. Exports totaled 1,506,557 metric tons and were valued at $1,583,563,167. The growth was led by a 17 percent increase in volume in exports of frozen potato products.
Exports of fresh potatoes were valued at $204,490,379, an increase of 10 percent, with volume at 407,114 metric tons, up 2 percent. Fresh exports, which include table-stock potatoes, but also those destined for chipping or freezing in the foreign country, were hampered by a 12 percent decline in shipments to Canada, the largest U.S. market. Exports to the second largest market, Mexico, rose 10 percent to 72,159 metric tons. Exports to Central America grew 32 percent to 8,010 metric tons, while shipments to target markets in Asia increased 59 percent to 64,888 metric tons. This was led by a more than 100 percent increase in chipping potato exports to Japan and Thailand and strong sales of both chipping and table potatoes to Malaysia and Taiwan.
The potato board noted that it did not conduct any sales promotions in South Korea during the year, but fresh potatoes exports grew 46 percent to 19,823 metric tons, in large part because the table-stock market was opened to U.S. potatoes as part of the free trade agreement.
Frozen potato products are still the largest portion of U.S. potato exports at 60 percent. Exports for the just-concluded year were valued at $989,261,082, up 22 percent, with volume up 17 percent to 905,941 metric tons. Japan is the largest export market for frozen products at 300,528 metric tons, up 5 percent in the last marketing year. China is now the second largest market for U.S. exports, up 57 percent to 99,219 metric tons.
Exports to Mexico have recovered from decreases after the retaliatory tariff from the NAFTA trucking dispute was lifted in early 2011. Growth was 31 percent during the year to 80,180 metric tons.