Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


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