Sep 13, 2017
Japan allows import of Idaho chipping potatoes after 11 years

The Japanese government has lifted an import ban on Idaho potatoes after confirming a lowered risk of pest invasion, according to Japan Today (JT).

President and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, Frank Muir, said it’s rewarding to see the Japanese government make a decision based on sound science.

“We’ve worked with officials of the Japanese government and have shown them all of the steps that have been taken to delimit and contain PCN in our state,” he said.

Muir also thanked Idaho Senator Jim Risch who met with the Japanese Ambassador on several occasions as well as the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture which assisted in reopening the market.

The decision is also being attributed to the Japanese government deciding that imports will have little impact on major potato producers in the country, such as Hokkaido, since the current amount of potato imports is considerably small compared with domestic production.

In April 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the suspension of U.S. potato imports after pale potato cyst nematode was detected in Idaho. It lifted the ban in February 2007, on condition of soil testing, except for Idaho potatoes.

The farm ministry dispatched experts to the United States and checked management conditions before lifting the ban this time, and Tokyo has already notified the U.S. government of the decision, the sources told JT.

This spring, some Japanese major potato chip makers  were forced to suspend sales of some of their products due to a potato shortage caused by a poor harvest last year in Hokkaido, due to cold conditions and typhoons.

Overall U.S. potato exports reached record levels last year, with Japan as the top market. Japan’s imports of raw potatoes from the U.S. reached around 28,000 tons, over 3.5 times the amount five years ago.



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