Potato exporters have continued to supply international markets during for the first six months of 2021 while experiencing market and logistical disruptions. Total potato export value has dropped six per cent to AUD$22,420,507 and volumes are down eight per cent to 30,759 tonnes compared to the same period of 2020. AUSVEG’s Sam Turner reports.

From January to June 2021, potato export volumes have fallen from 32,686 tonnes 2020 to 30,759 tonnes compared with the same time last year. Export value has also dropped from AUD$24,241,214 in 2020 to AUD$22,420,507 over the same period. This represents a six per cent reduction in volume and an eight per cent reduction in value for the period (see Table 1).

Australian potato exports demonstrate clear seasonality, with export value peaking in March and exports continuing throughout the year. For the majority of the 2020/2021 financial year, potato export results have been below those of the corresponding month in the previous financial year (see Figure 1).

Export destinations

The main export destination for Australian potatoes is South Korea, followed by the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. South Korean imports have continued to grow in the first six months of 2021, with trade increasing 26 per cent in volume to 16,513 tonnes and increase 24 per cent in value to AUD$9,642,314 (see Figure 2).

Export outlook

While demand for Australian potatoes continues to grow in a range of export markets, COVID-19 disruptions are impacting potato exporters. Growers continue to face challenges with increases in freight costs, reduced freight capacity, inconsistent sailing schedules and difficulties in securing containers.

In addition to these challenges, growers are also facing rising input costs. Over the last few months, cardboard and packaging prices have increased, along with other imported farm inputs. These expenses are on top of the labour shortages, due to international travel restrictions and the increased regulatory charging regime for export certification that commenced on 1 July 2021.

Find out more

Growers interested in identifying export events or discussing export opportunities can contact the AUSVEG Export Development team on 03 9882 0277 or email export@ausveg.com.au.