The South African potato industry, which competes in yield and quality with the best in the world, is keen to explore the prospects of increased global trade in potatoes, according to a report published by FreshPlaza.
Currently 20 to 25% of South African potato production goes for processing (mostly crisps and French fries) but that is a segment Potatoes South Africa would like to see grow, after some stagnation over the past few years linked to the slowing economy.
Not only that, but the innovative applications of potatoes in confectionery, bread and pasta as showcased at the 2015 World Potato Congress has served as inspiration to broaden the horizons of Potatoes South Africa, explains Dr André Jooste, CEO of the potato industry body.
In an interview with FreshPlaza, Dr Jooste said: “We recently attended Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong in an exploratory capacity and to make contact with Chinese processing firms as well as with importers with established networks in Asia. We learned an immense amount.”
“There are strong opportunities and interest from the Middle East, already an export destination for South Africa, and from countries to the west of China. Of course, the more eastwards you move in Asia, the more you would encounter competition from Australia and South America.”
The number of commercial potato production units in South Africa is a quarter of what it was 25 years ago in a strong inverse relationship to yield.