North America, Trade/Markets/Prices

Maine potato farmers celebrate as Mexico lifts its ban on fresh US spuds

The Mexican Supreme Court unexpectedly voted on Wednesday to overturn a 2017 lower court decision banning U.S. fresh potato sales in most of Mexico. Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli reports for Bangor Daily News that this unanimous decision ends a decades-long legal battle and opens trade doors for U.S. potato growers.

While it’s unlikely potatoes grown in Aroostook County will make the several-thousand-mile trip into Mexico, it’s still good news for Maine’s growers because western farmers such as those in Idaho and Colorado who market on the east coast now likely will start moving their crops south.

“There is a huge demand for U.S. potatoes in Mexico and moving western potatoes offshore is a big deal for Maine growers,” National Potato Council President Dominic LaJoie said on Thursday. LaJoie is also a Van Buren potato grower and he co-owns LaJoie LLC.

This week’s decision comes at a particularly good time, with potato growers coming off a lean 2020 following last year’s pandemic restrictions. Just when Maine growers were getting ready to market their 2019 crop, everything closed down, including restaurants, schools and other food service operations.

Source: Bangor Daily News. Read the full story here

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