As the largest potato producer in the world, China’s 2017/18 fresh potato production is forecast at 97 million metric tons (MMT), due to an expansion of potato area, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report.
During the 2016/17 season, production was forecast to increase three per cent to 100 MMT, but actually dropped five per cent to an estimated 92 MMT.
This decrease was due to continuing drought in the north and large-scale late blight occurrences in the southwest. However, due to a decline in corn area attributable to China’s recent corn reform and because 2017 spring potato prices were very high (the highest they have been in the last eight years), industry sources report expanded potato area heading into the 2017 planting cycle.
Meanwhile, China’s frozen french fries (FFF) production is forecast at 250,000 MT, a 10 per cent increase from 230,000 MT in 2016/17, driven by strong domestic demand. Post forecasts China’s 2017/18 FFF imports at 120,000 MT, about a five per cent decrease from 126,620 MT in 2016/17, due to increased domestic production.