Vietnam hungry for Oregon potatoes

| Print |  Email
Articles - Jan/Feb 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012

By Amanda Waldroupe

0112_Vietnam_01
0112_Vietnam_02
At top: A Pacific Northwest potato display in Ho Chi Minh City. State ag directors Dan Newhouse of Washington (left) and Katy Coba or Oregon with a store manager.

Vietnam’s economy and demand for American exports is growing, and Oregon’s potato growers aren’t being couch potatoes. A recent trade mission to Vietnam to scout a potential market for Oregon agricultural exports found that Vietnam is going to be a very important market for Oregon agriculture, says Dalton Hobbs, assistant director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

“It has a lot of potential,” says Bill Brewer, executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission. “It’s a whole new developing market.”

A test shipment of two ocean containers carrying 80,000 pounds of fresh potatoes are expected to be sent to Hoh Chi Minh City within a month or two, according to Hobbs. Test shipments are a typical step in creating new export markets. Such shipments further test demand and technical problems related to shipping fresh products, to be smoothed out before larger, more frequent shipments begin.

In as little as a year, Oregon could start commercially shipping between 40,000 and 80,000 pounds of potatoes each month, equating to between $100,000 and $200,000 in monthly profits, Hobbs says. Brewer says shipping a couple containers a month would “be a great start” and is confident business would quickly grow. “If we could just get in there and get that much product on their shelves, it would grow big time,” he says.

Potatoes are a staple of a typical Vietnamese diet, but the only part of the country that can grow them is the highlands. Most potatoes, Brewer says, are shipped from China and are a pale, off-color brown “that we in the U.S. would not accept.”

“Our potatoes have a lot better shape, and are more consistent in size,” Brewer says. So it’s little surprise that the Vietnamese were particularly interested in Oregon’s red, purple and blue specialty potatoes, and were willing to pay a dollar per pound — twice what they would pay for locally grown potatoes.

The new market might be a shot in the arm for a commodity that has slowly increased its acreage since a sharp decline in the late 1990s.

 

More Articles

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS