Idaho potatoes bound for Japan

The Japanese government will allow the import of U.S. chipping potatoes from Idaho, marking the end of an 11-year ban on these shipments from the Pacific Northwest state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement. According to USDA figures, the United States already has a 98-percent share of the Japanese potato market, with exports of fresh and chilled potatoes increasing from $1 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2016. However, Japan stopped imports of Idaho chipping potatoes after detection of pale cyst nematode (PCN) in the southeastern part of the state in 2006. Since then, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has worked with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, as well as the nation’s potato industry, to demonstrate to the Japanese government the effectiveness of the PCN eradication program.

As a result, Japan will reopen its market to chipping potatoes from all Idaho counties, except Bingham and Bonneville, which remain under quarantine for PCN. Potato exports from Idaho to Japan are expected to begin during the 2018 season. In addition, Japan has clarified that all U.S. seed-producing states that are free from PCN and golden nematode are eligible to supply seed potatoes to produce chipping potatoes for export to Japan. (Source: American Shipper)