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Market trends of roots, tubers and other exotics

  • Market trends of roots, tubers and other exotics

    by Market Insider

    Wednesday, 11 Jun. 2014

    The information presented herewith refers to the first quarter (Q1) in the French market. Even if it refers to one country only, it is useful for providing an outlook on some products and origins. We rarely have the opportunity to comment about these product classes due to the small volumes involved and the consequent scarcity of relevant information. The data are extracted from the last issue of the review Fruitrop (n.221, April 2014).

    During Q1 2014, the roots and tubers market saw limited price variations, primarily due to temporary jumps in volumes; some supply alterations also appeared, taking into account the seasonality of the products.

    Sweet potato

    The red-skinned white-fleshed sweet potato market was characterised by the end of the Portuguese season in the third week of January, with stable sale prices. A steady supply was provided by Egypt. The rate of this produce was around 0.80 Euro/kg on average. However, a price difference could be observed between the commercial brands and the varieties on the market: standard tubers were sold at around 0.70 Euro/kg, whereas higher-value produce of better quality and more appealingly packaged obtained prices of around 1.00 Euro/kg. After high levels in February, prices took a downturn in March due to the abundance of produce. In early February, Honduran exports resumed after their suspension in late October, selling at stable prices until the end of the period. In late March, the market received the first shipments of the new South African season. Some batches of Chinese sweet potato supplemented the supply in the first half of February. This source quickly faded away in face of the launch of the Honduran season and the large quantities shipped by Egypt. The red skinned orange-fleshed sweet potato supply in Q1 2014 was provided by the USA and Israel. These volumes were supplemented by the first Honduran imports in mid-February. The rate for US produce dropped in March, whereas the rate for Israeli and Honduran produce remained more stable.


    Yams from Ghana and France provided a steady supply to the market, with stable sale prices. Ghana primarily supplied white yams. Puna yams were less common and 0.15 to 0.20 Euro/kg more expensive. French produced yams sold very steadily at around 2.60 Euros/kg. The collectivisation of French producers for joint marketing of their produce, helped maintain a strong price unlike in other years which saw more fluctuations. The French season came to a halt earlier than last year, at the beginning of March.


    Frequently sold at around 1.10 Euro/kg, the Costa Rican manioc saw its price rise slightly in February and March, up 0.10 to 0.20 Euro/kg. and then dip at the end of the period.


    After a period of scarcer supply in Q4 2013, characterised by sale prices often above 2.00 Euro/kg on average, the Costa Rican eddoe rate dropped throughout Q1 2014. The increased tonnages, alongside an equal demand level, sent the market into a gradual but continuous slide.


    The middle of the period saw a sizeable and sustained fall for Colombian plantains. The receipt of large tonnages and the development of quality problems were the main causes of these difficult market conditions. In addition, demand seems to have been particularly flat during this period. Ecuadorian produce sold more steadily, ultimately achieving slightly higher prices, whereas the Colombian produce price dropped in the first half of Q1 and fluctuated frequently, standing at similar values of those registered for Ecuador at the end of the period.


    Prices have been stable and steady for Costa Rica, the main supplier to the European market. The rate for French-produced chayotes and christophines was variable, depending on the quality of the produce on the market. Certain poorly developing batches were sold at lower prices. The French season ended in late February-early March, with quantities falling steeply. Some small batches of christophine from Martinique supplemented the supply. This produce, shipped by air, sold at between 2.80 and 3.00 Euros/kg.


    The rate for dasheens from Saint Vincent, the main market supplier, saw only slight variations in Q1 2014. This turned around in February under the effect of more substantial incoming shipments. Meanwhile, Martinique shipped small quantities by airs, which were sold at a basic price of 3.80-3.90 Euros/kg.


    The Dominican Republic provided most of the supply in Q1 2014. Often very green at the beginning of the period, Dominican peppers then improved in quality. After a slight dip in mid February, the rate of this produce saw a distinct rise in late February-early March due to a more limited supply. In the second half of March, quantities rose again, driving down sale prices. Rates were steady for Guadeloupe peppers, with their good quality and coloration. Shipments from Martinique were more haphazard, with sale prices fluctuating depending on quality.

    Source: Fruitrop

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