The Egyptian government is requesting a visit to the U.S. this year to approve expanded access for seed potatoes from all U.S. states. Egypt approved California as a seed potato export state following a visit by Egyptian authorities to the state last fall. Egyptian authorities have now informed USDA-APHIS that they are willing to approve other seed producing states pending an additional visit to the U.S. this summer.
Egyptian authorities are requesting to see seed potato fields at 60, 75, and 90 days of growth in Washington, Colorado, North Dakota, and Maine. Importantly, Egypt is not requesting a visit to each state for market access; this four-state visit would cover market access for all remaining seed producing states.
The potato industry maintains that approval for Colorado and Montana, which were visited by Egyptian officials in 2013, should be granted without additional visits to these areas. There is also a question of whether more than one trip would be needed to ensure that the Egyptian requests are met.
These issues, as well as the potential dates of such a visit, will be the subject of further discussions between USDA and the industry in the coming weeks.
Source: BCI Monitor/NPC