( File photo )

Exports of fresh potatoes, which includes shipments destined for processing markets, saw a 9% increase in tonnage and almost 11% increase in value during the second half of 2019.

A Potatoes USA report on exports shows growth in all segments, from dehydrated products to frozen, and fresh, which includes shipments that will turned into chips and other products.

The Potatoes USA report does not break out processing potatoes from table stock when shipped fresh.

From July 2019 through the end of the year, fresh potatoes shipped to Mexico rose 2%, to a value of $27.23 million, and Canadian fresh shipments were valued at $53.05 million, a 19% increase, according to Global Trade Atlas data supplied to Potatoes USA.

The overall value of exports of fresh potatoes during the six-month period rose 10.6%, to $132.1 million, according to the Potatoes USA report.

Other segments of the U.S. potato export trade from July-December 2019 were:

Frozen: 551,338 metric tons, up 11%, with a value of $643 million; and
Dehydrated: 94,608 metric tons, up 10%, with a value of $209 million.

Frozen potato exports to Mexico were up 19% in the six-month period, according to the report, mostly due to a 20% tariff from 2018 that was removed in June. Mexico is the second-largest frozen potato product market for the U.S. behind Japan, which saw a 3% increase in tonnage.


Japanese processing agreement

Fresh shipments destined for chip processors in Japan will likely increase, with a new agreement that started Feb. 14 allowing year-round access. Before, fresh potatoes for chip processors were limited to five months, from February through June, according to Potatoes USA.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently came to an agreement allowing the year-round access, according to Potatoes USA.

The number of processing plants in Japan are limited and there are tight shipment, processing and waste treatment requirements, according to the release.

In 2019, the U.S. shipped 32,240 metric tons of fresh chipping potatoes to Japan, valued at $15.01 million.

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