Free State, Western Cape and Northern Province remain the major potato
production areas in South Africa, having produced 65% of the total crop in
1999. The planting of potatoes for the 2000 season is estimated at 53 612
ha—approximately 3 068 ha or 5,4% less than the plantings for the 1999
Potatoes contributed approximately 41,4%
to the gross value of vegetables produced during 1999. A total of roughly 163
million X 10 kg pockets—6,3% less than that of the 1999 potato crop—is
expected for 2000. Over the past six years, the potato production showed an
upward trend at an annual average growth of 2%.
During 1999, approximately 95,6 million x
10 kg pockets of potatoes were sold on the 16 major fresh produce markets, as
against the 89,4 million of 1998 and the 94,5 million of 1997.
1999, approximately 45% of potato sales on the fresh produce markets took place
in Gauteng, which comprise the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Springs markets. The
Johannesburg fresh produce market remains the largest seller of potatoes,
followed by Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban.
During the past four years, the sale of
potatoes on the fresh produce markets increased by 13,1%, from 84,5 million X 10
kg pockets in 1995 to 95,6 million 10 kg pockets in 1999, representing an
average growth rate of approximately 3% per annum. During the first six months
of 2000, sales decreased by approximately 8,3% compared to the corresponding
period of 1999. This was mainly due to the floods in the Northern Province in
the first quarter of 2000.
gross human consumption of potatoes decreased by 1,1% during 1999. During the
period 1995 to 1999, the per capita
consumption increased by an average annual rate of approximately 4,9%.
production (‘000 tons)
consumption (kg p.a.)
The annual average increase of potato prices on the major fresh produce markets was 6,1% between 1995 and 1999. Potato prices decreased by 12,7% during 1999, but are expected to pick up during 2000.
Processing of potatoes had an upward trend
since 1995, with an annual average growth rate of 13,1%.
During 1999, approximately 16% of the total
production of potatoes was taken in for processing. About 96% of the total
potatoes taken in for processing was processed into potato chips and the
remaining 4% was taken in for canning, freezing and dehydration. Potatoes
processed experienced a further (8,3%) increase during 1999. During the past two
years, the emphasis shifted from fresh potato chips to frozen chips, while the
consumption of crisps also showed a sound growth.
During 1999, about 7% of the total potato
production was exported. During the past five years, the quantity of potatoes
exported increased at an annual average growth rate of approximately 26%. The
export prices of potatoes increased by 28% in 1999. It is expected that income
from potato exports could further increase in the years ahead. The export markets seem to be improving, especially Mauritius which is
South Africa’s most important export destination for table and seed
potatoes. With the implementation of the SADC free trade agreement, other
SADC member countries could become additional export destinations for South
Potatoes offered for export have
to comply with the quality standards prescribed in the export regulations, as
well as the phytosanitary requirements of the importing countries.