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Washington State Receives Grant for Chip Promotions in Asia

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has received two grants, totaling $120,000, for marketing projects for the state's potato and shellfish industries. $70,000 of those funds will be used to assist marketing of chipping potatoes in Asia.

The Pacific Northwest comprises one of the world's largest potato growing regions. The snack food industries in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Thailand provide growers an excellent opportunity for market expansion as they are major consumers of potato-based snack foods.

The grant will be matched by cash and in-kind contributions from potato commissions and departments of agriculture in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The funding will enable the industry to provide the technical education demanded by Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese and Thai processors, and to explore the potential for growing potatoes specifically for these niche markets.

"These grants will help us connect with buyers looking for the same quality they already find in our apples, pears, wine and other specialty crops," said WSDA Director Valoria Loveland. "It is imperative that we continue to strengthen our international markets. The global demands for our products help sustain farmers and communities throughout the state."

The grants are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal State Marketing Improvement Program and represent the largest chunk of those dollars doled out to states.

Originally posted Friday, Aug. 20, 2004

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