DENVER — Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Agriculture announced today Mexico has published new rules that permit expanded access to the Mexican market for U.S. fresh potatoes. This will allow producers in Colorado, particularly those in the San Luis Valley, to increase potato exports to Mexico.
“Agricultural exports have become increasingly important to our state’s economy,” Hickenlooper said. “We have a strong partnership with Mexico and we are excited about the continued growth of these export markets.”
Colorado agricultural exports continue to grow, nearly doubling since 2009. Mexico is Colorado’s second-largest agricultural export market. This step by Mexico will further strengthen that relationship, not only increasing exports of Colorado fresh potatoes to that country, but also potentially opening more opportunities for Colorado agriculture in general.
Expanded exports of fresh potatoes could have a positive economic impact of $30 million for Colorado.
“This is great news for Colorado and for potato producers in the San Luis Valley,” Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar said. “We have been working to expand this market since 2003. I especially want to commend Gov. Hickenlooper on his leadership in helping make this day happen.”
Hickenlooper led a trade mission to Mexico in 2012 that focused on opening Mexico’s interior market for potatoes. To date, only areas along the border have been accessible to U.S. potatoes. During the 2012 visit, the governor and Salazar met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon to press the case for potato market expansion. The trade mission supported ongoing industry efforts to promote Colorado products in Mexico and helped to lay the foundation for this significant action by Mexico.
Shipments of Colorado potatoes increased 26 percent between 2012 and 2013. In addition, the export value of Colorado potatoes sold to Mexico grew to $23 million in 2013 from $17 million in 2012.
The release of this new rule comes at an opportune time as the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which recently exhibited with several Colorado potato companies at the 2014 ANTAD trade show March 12-14 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Our presence at ANTAD will help us continue to develop market opportunities for potatoes and other Colorado agricultural products,” Salazar said. “We will be able to network with buyers from some of the largest retail outlets in Mexico.”