N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 6 POTATO GROWER Amy Burdett Marketing Operations Director Potatoes USA Seed potato exporters in the Red River Valley seeking new buyers should consider Senegal in West Africa. At the current sales pace, Senegal could be among the top three markets for U.S. potatoes for cultivation only three years after our first U.S. seed exports. How did this new import market become poised as a top destination, you ask? In 2015-2016, Potatoes USA intro- duced three varieties of U.S. seed potatoes to Senegal under USDA- funded international market devel- opment programs in the sub- Saharan region of Africa. Those 50 tons of samples produced an excep- tional crop for growers in fields north of the capital of Dakar in a strip of arable land not far from the Atlantic coast. A few months after harvest and the successful sale of the resulting fresh potatoes in the local retail market, a team of three Senegalese visited California and North Dakota to meet potential U.S. seed suppliers. This Potatoes USA sponsored visit consisted of an importer, a grower, and a government official. While in North Dakota, the delegation spent a day touring farms and learning about seed certification and the North Dakota breeding programs. The trip helped create the first com- mercial sales of U.S. seed potatoes to Senegal. As such, in September 2016, 166 tons were exported to Senegal. In 2017-2018, Senegal is expected to increase imports of U.S. seed pota- toes exponentially, according to Amadou Diop who presented the Senegal market prospects at Potatoes USA’s International Seed Symposium on July 31, 2017. Mr. Diop projected Senegal could import as much as 800 tons of the 2017 crop. He should know; Mr. Diop is at the center of a flourishing U.S. seed potato trade to Senegal. His country’s growers are seeking drought- and heat-tolerant varieties to suit their climate. They would like to import seed ready to plant from September through December. Buyers are open to considering vary- ing skin colors and shades of flesh. This summer, two Senegalese grow- ers and two government officials accompanied Mr. Diop to the United States where relationships Potatoes USA Mes sage Potatoes USA Cultivates New Seed Potato Market In Senegal