Considering the amount of production, our country is in the position of exporter of fresh potatoes. Our potato import was 80 thousand tons in total in 2019, and our export was 145 thousand tons. Approximately 85% of our potato imports are seeds. The customs tax rate on potato imports is 19.3%. When the export amount is examined, the potato export, which was 144.917 tons in 2019, was 124.135 tons in 2020. 97.7% of potato exports in 2020 were fresh, 2% seed and a very small amount of frozen potatoes. A total of 102,142 tons of exports were realized in the first four months of 2021.
In our country, there was no problem in potato production in 2020 and a productive harvest season was realized. Potato production in our country in 2020 was 5.2 million tons with an increase of 4.4% compared to the previous year. Our country’s first season production in 2021 continues in Adana, Hatay and İzmir (Ödemiş) provinces and an efficient early season is being experienced.
It is important for our country’s economy to encourage and direct the export of potatoes to be made as frozen and processed products with high added value instead of being made fresh. Our Ministry closely monitors price changes in domestic and international markets, stock management and harvest status, and takes all kinds of measures to protect our producers when necessary. Due to the pandemic in the world, touristic facilities, restaurants, cafes, etc., where mass food consumption takes place. Due to the closure of the places, excess production has occurred in EU countries, the USA and many other potato producing countries, especially in industrial potatoes. Due to the contraction in domestic consumption due to the pandemic, the product in the warehouse has created an excess supply. With the start of the early harvest, in order to supply the warehouse product to the market and to prevent the loss of warehouse products and the victimization of the producers, the excess potatoes were taken from our producers and distributed to the needy through our Ministry’s Soil Products Office.