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U.S. chipping potatoes returning to Japan after 11-year halt

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Japan is expanding market access for U.S. chipping potatoes, resuming imports from Idaho for the first time in 11 years.

“The United States has a reputation around the globe for growing high-quality potatoes,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are committed to opening up new market opportunities for U.S. producers, and I am gratified that farmers in Idaho, our largest potato-producing state, will prosper while helping Japan with their supply of fresh chipping potatoes.”

The United States enjoys a 98-percent share of the Japanese potato market, with exports of fresh and chilled potatoes growing from $1 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2016. Beginning with the 2018 season, Idaho will again be among the U.S. states eligible to ship chipping potatoes to Japan.

Japan halted imports of chipping potatoes from Idaho after detection of pale cyst nematode (PCN) in the southeastern part of the state in 2006. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has worked closely with the U.S. potato industry and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PCN eradication program. As a result, Japan has reopened the market to chipping potatoes from all Idaho counties except Bingham and Bonneville, which remain under quarantine for PCN.

Japan has also clarified that all U.S. seed-producing states that are free from PCN and golden nematode are eligible to supply seed to produce chipping potatoes for export to Japan.

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