The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have left on a promotional trade mission to South East Asia to promote the states’ potatoes.
Representatives from the Washington State Potato Commission’s (WSPC) and the Oregon Potato Commissions have joined the trade mission, which will tour the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar over the last week of October, visiting local chefs, consumers and meeting with government officials to discuss market access and trade.
“More than 30 per cent of everything grown on Washington farms is exported overseas, making the export market critical for our state’s US$49bn agriculture industry,” director of WSDA Bud Hover said in a company statement. “Potatoes are among Washington’s top commodities, and while the countries we will visit provide market access to our growers, expanding those markets can lead to more opportunities and more jobs in our state’s agriculture sector.”
Expanding demand for potatoes across South East Asia is driving the USDA-funded trade mission, with the Philippines ranking as the fourth largest export market for Washington agricultural goods in 2012, worth US$521m. Vietnam received US$80.2m and Myanmar received US$5.6m in Washington food products in the same year, according to WSDA.
“Washington is home to the highest yielding potato fields in the world and the quality potatoes our growers consistently produce are desired throughout many countries,” said Chris Voigt, WSPC executive director. “We continue to see international exports play a larger role for our industry and we look forward to building upon that success with our trade mission.”