b'U.S. Seed Potatoes Stamp Their Passports For CubaJohn Lundeen, Research Director atPotatoes USA and Peter Joyce,International Seed Representative forPotatoes USASeedpotatoesfromtheUnited U.S. seed potatoes have several dis-Stateshavenotbeenpartofthe tinctadvantages.Somevarieties,Cubanculturalstoryfordecades. especiallychippers,havebeenBut now, with the advent of a field showntimeandagaintoproducetrialinCubawithU.S.seedpota- wellintropicalenvironments.Intoes, that just might change. addition,theU.S.hasdedicatedseed growers that produce the high-Asthethird-largestseedpotato est quality seed potatoes, with a lim-importer in North America, behind itednumberofgenerations.U.S.theU.S.andCanada,Cubahasa seedpotatoescanbeplantedaslarge amount of opportunity, which earlyasOctober1,ifnecessary,continues to grow.In 2019, Cuba beforetheplantingwindowforimported15,292tonnesofpotato European seed, thus bringing pota-seed,similartoCanadas17,070 toes to the market earlier. USA Potatoestonnes.Over99%ofCubasseedpotatoesareimportedeveryyear, Currently shipping to Cuba is com-largely from Europe2. plicatedandmoreexpensivethanother destinations. Domestic freightThe need for seed is ongoing. Cuba toFloridacanbehighfromU.S.Messageislocated21degreesnorthofthe seedproducingregions.Fewportsequator and plants nearly all of its areactivelyengagedintheship-seed at less than 300 feet above sea ment of goods to Cuba. Hopefully,level.The island has an overwhelm- freight rates will decrease over timeing quantity of aphids and whitefly andportoptionswillexpandasdue to the lack of cold temperature commerce with Cuba increases. U.S.intervals, which then creates heavy seed growers are competing success-viruspressureforpotatoes.Cuban fullyintheirexportstothefarmers also have fungal and bacter- Dominican Republic, which is closeial diseases to address. Cuban agron- to Cuba, as evidenced by the 1,000omistsconfidethattheyieldfor + tonnes of seed exports seen sincesavedseedislessthanhalfof 2018, per interviews undertaken byimported seed potatoes. Potatoes USA.6 POTATO GROWER APRIL 2021'