Overall, U.S. potato imports declined slightly during the first quarter (July – September) of the July 2019 – June 2020 marketing year compared to the previous year, dipping 12% in volume and 2% in value.
The drop-off in fresh imports over this period—from 77,496 to 50,343 metric tons (MT), a 35% decrease—largely drove the downward trend, overshadowing growth in the dehydrated, chip, and seed sectors.
Of the three sectors, seed imports rose the most, reaching 41 MT to register a 116% increase over July 2018 – September 2018 totals of 19 MT. Imports of dehydrated potatoes also climbed significantly over this past quarter, with 25,882 MT in reported volume equivalent to a 43% increase over the July 2018 – September 2018 figure of 18,161 MT.
U.S. potato imports have been steadily growing based on increased demand for potatoes in the U.S. market. Imports tallied 1,529,400 MT for the July 2018 – June 2019 marketing year, amounting to a 4% increase in value over the prior year’s total.
Given the reduced potato production in the U.S. for the fall 2019 crop and the rebound in production in the EU, it is anticipated that imports will begin to grow again starting in 2020.