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China: Nice weather boosts struggling potato industry

According to a recent GAIN report (USDA), potato farmers in China are expected to reap a bumper harvest, with fresh potato production increasing by 5 percent year on year in marketing year 2019/20.

Favorable weather in key growing regions will boost China’s processed potato production, particularly in the fast-growing area of frozen french fries.

China’s additional tariffs on U.S. processed potato products will result in decreased imports of frozen french fries. While the United States does not have market access to ship fresh table stock potatoes, it is one of only a few countries eligible to export seed potatoes to China, although commercial shipments have been limited.

In marketing year (MY) 2019/20 (September to August), fresh potato production is forecast to increase 5 percent, to 98 million metric tons (MMT). This increase is due to favorable weather in China’s major potato growing areas of Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Ningxia.

Forty percent of fresh potatoes in China are consumed through processing. Frozen french fry (FFF) production is forecast to increase 10 percent in MY2019/20 due to the increased supply of fresh potatoes.

Currently, China does not import table stock potatoes due to phytosanitary restrictions. The United States does export a small amount of seed potatoes from the state of Alaska.

China’s imports of FFF is expected to decrease this year by 10 percent due to the additional tariffs it has placed on the United States, its largest supplier of imported FFF.

Read the full GAIN report here