Over the past five years, the area sown with potatoes has increased by 2.7%, or 35,000 hectares, to 1.33 million hectares in 2020, the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB) has said.
According to a report on the association’s website, as of September 1, 2020, almost 14.825 million tonnes of potatoes were harvested from 948,700 hectares. Despite the large number of areas from which potatoes have already been harvested, the yield per hectare is low. For comparison, in 2018 the average yield in Ukraine was 16.76 tonnes per ha, in 2019 15.21 tonnes per ha, and in 2020 15.63 tonnes per ha.
“The relatively low yield of recent years is associated with unfavorable conditions in most regions of Ukraine from May to June. That is why there was a boom in potato imports in 2019. In 2019, potato imports amounted to 246,760 tonnes, which is almost 60 times more than it was in 2018, while exports decreased to 5,610 tonnes,” the UCAB said.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, as well as unfavorable weather conditions, potato imports were also at a fairly high level. So, according to the association, in the period of January-July 2020, potato imports amounted to 233,760 tonnes for a total of $51.26 million.
According to the UCAB, Belarus is the main country-supplier of potatoes to Ukraine, almost 55.7% of all imported potatoes (130,330 tonnes) for a total of $21.42 million. Also, the top five potato importers to Ukraine were: Russia – 42,470 tonnes ($7.23 million), the Netherlands – 31,220 tonnes ($11.97 million), Egypt – 8,930 tonnes ($2.81 million), Belgium – 8,150 tonnes ($2.77 million).
According to the State Customs Service, since July, Ukraine has hardly imported potatoes – $685,000 in July and $120,630 in August, respectively, the association said.
“At the same time, from July to September inclusive, the average price for potatoes is kept at the level of UAH 6-6.50. This gives reason to believe that this year there is more than enough potatoes on the Ukrainian market for domestic consumption and in the near future one should not expect an increase in prices,” the UCAB said.