The American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute (ASPMI) sees Mexico as holding tremendous potential for U.S. sweet potato exports over the coming years, thanks to efforts funded by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Emerging Markets Program (EMP) to assess the market and help buyers embrace U.S. product.
With the help of EMP funds, ASPMI recently conducted an assessment of the Mexican market for U.S. sweet potatoes concluding that opportunities abound for U.S. exports if Mexican buyers better understand the grades, sizes, and superior quality of U.S. product. Interviews with the country’s top importers showed strong interest in U.S. sweet potatoes and, as a result of contacts made while conducting the assessment, a large food retailer in Mexico began placing orders.
While export volumes are currently small, ASPMI forecasts exports growing 300% over the coming years if Mexican buyers are provided the training and promotional support to better source U.S. sweet potatoes.
“EMP funding was critical in helping ASPMI identify this important new opportunity, without which the market would have remained untapped,” ASPMI President Johnny Barnes says.
ASPMI was formed in 2013 to promote the unique attributes of U.S. sweet potatoes abroad, leveraging USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-administered programs.
These cost-share programs, such as the Emerging Markets Program and the Market Access Program (MAP), allow the association to reach markets that were untapped until recently. Most sweet potato operations are small to medium family-owned farms; MAP funds give them the assistance needed to access new export markets that they otherwise would not be able to reach, according to ASPMI.