The National Potato Council (NPC) and the United States Potato Board (USPB) are pleased to announce the Government of Thailand has approved the states of Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming to ship seed potatoes to Thailand. The official announcement occurred February 3, 2011 in the Thai government Royal Gazette. The states of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington were approved to export seed potatoes to Thailand in the fall of 2009.
Access for seed potatoes from these states was based on a review of the seed certification procedures, seed cultivation practices and phytosanitary inspection processes in a representative sample of states. Two officials from the Thai Ministry of Agriculture visited New York, Colorado, Wisconsin and Maine in July 2010. The state potato grower organizations along with growers, state departments of agriculture and seed certification officials in these states provided excellent information to the visitors and deserve much of the credit for the success of the visit. The visit was organized by USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USPB and was paid for in part by Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) funds granted by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to the USPB.
The announcement recognizing these states also establishes a set of standardized phytosanitary requirements for the seed potatoes. Imports of seed potatoes into Thailand also require the issuance of an import permit by the Thai government. The NPC and USPB will continue to work with APHIS and FAS to negotiate greater access for US seed potatoes to Thailand.
Thailand is one of the largest potato producing countries in Southeast Asia, with annual production averaging around 120,000 metric tons per year. Much of the local potato production goes to the three large potato chip manufacturers in the country which supply regional markets with finished chips.
Thailand imported 3,188 metric tons of seed potatoes in the 2009/2010 July-June marketing year. The majority of these were from the European Union, along with Canada shipping 830 MT. It is expected US seed potato growers will now be able to compete with these traditional suppliers, though it will take some time for relationships to be established and exports to materialize. The US shipped 2,463 MT of fresh chipping potatoes to Thailand in 2009/2010 under a strict quota system imposed on potato imports by the Thai government.
The NPC and USPB would like to thank the employees of USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and Foreign Agricultural Service that worked to secure this greater access for US seed potatoes.
United States potato Board (USPB), National Potato Council(NPC) News