Washington potato farmers can’t keep pace with worldwide cravings for french fries, hash browns, tots, potato chips and other processed potato products. And not being able to supply the spuds has meant other countries have gobbled up the market share, as Kristina Lord reports for the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.
“We’re seeing a lot more European french fries and hash browns and Tater Tots in Asia than we ever have. And again, it’s because we’re just not able to keep up with demand,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission.
Voigt traveled earlier this year to Vietnam on a trade mission to promote Washington potatoes. Touring a food distribution center, he noted that all the frozen french fries originated from the European Union. “We just didn’t have the product to sell to them. The demand is red hot, globally, for potatoes,” he said.
The issue will be exacerbated as California “dries up,” which will put more pressure on Columbia Basin growers because more crops will move up from California to compete with the existing crop, Voigt said.
How can Washington farmers improve their potato yield? It’s a nuanced question, requiring a complicated answer.
Source: Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. Read the full story here