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

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

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...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


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