The EU potato sector

Statistics on production and trade

The EU potato sector in 2020: statistics on production & trade

Source: Eurostat data. Data extracted in July 2021

Cultivated area

Potatoes were cultivated on 1.7 million hectares (ha) in the EU-27 in 2020. This corresponded to an estimated 1.7 % of all arable land in the EU. This share was much higher in the Netherlands (16.3 % of all arable land), Belgium (11.3 %) and in Malta (7.5 %).


Potato production

The harvested production of potatoes in the EU was 55.3 million tonnes in 2020. Germany was the largest producer of potatoes in the EU in 2020 (at 11.7 million tonnes, 21.2 % of the EU total), ahead of Poland (a provisional 16.4 %), France (15.7 %) and the Netherlands (12.7 %).

Potato trade

Intra-EU trade:

Member States traded about 7.0 million tonnes of potatoes between themselves, the market value of which was EUR 1.7 billion (0.06 % of all intra-EU exports):

  • consumption potatoes accounted for 67.7 %,
  • seed potatoes accounted for 22.5 %,
  • early potatoes accounted for 7.9 %,
  • starch potatoes making up the remaining 1.9 %.

Three Member States accounted for almost three-quarters of intra-EU exports of potatoes in value terms: France (31.0 %), the Netherlands (25.4 %) and Germany (16.7 %).

EU import of potatoes

EU imported few potatoes from non-EU countries: the EU imported 591 000 tonnes from abroad, to a value of EUR 235.1 million. Slightly more than one half (56.1 % of the volume and 56.9 % of the value) of these imports were early potatoes: 331 000 tonnes (worth EUR 133.7 million) entered the European market, mainly from Egypt (70.7 %) and Israel (18.7 %).

tonnes of potatoes were traded between EU countries in 2020

million EUR was the value of the exported potatoes in 2020

EU export of potatoes

The EU is a net exporter of seed and consumption potatoes. EU exported 1.4 million tonnes of potatoes with a value of EUR 509 million (0.03 % of the total value of extra-EU exports). These exports were mainly seed potatoes (61.2 % in terms of the total value of potato exports and 41.8 % in terms of volume) and consumption potatoes (33.0 % in value and 51.5 % in volume).

The United Kingdom, Egypt and Algeria were the EU’s largest export markets for potatoes outside the EU (11.3 %, 5.0 % and 4.5 %, respectively, of the volume and 10.8 %, 7.2 % and 5.9 %, respectively, of the value), almost exclusively for seed potatoes in the case of Egypt and Algeria.

The Netherlands was the leading exporter to countries outside the EU, accounting for more than half of all extra-EU exports of potatoes, both in terms of value (58.8 %) and volume (54.6 %). To put this in some context, the next largest exporter was France, accounting for about one-seventh of extra-EU potato exports (14.6 % in value terms and 13.3 % in volume terms).

Organic potatoes (in 2016)

Organic potato production was a relatively small segment of the market in most Member States. Only 20 000 holdings produced potatoes under organic farming conditions, with just over one half of these located in either Poland (23.8 %), Austria (14.7 %) or Germany (14.0 %). In Austria, however, farms producing organic potatoes accounted for one-fifth (20.4 %) of all farms producing potatoes.

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