Trade agreements such as NAFTA seen as vital

US: Export challenges facing North Carolina sweet potatoes

The sweet potato is one of the three key North Carolina agricultural commodities (along with pork and tobacco) and the export market is vital for the success of all three.

At this year’s Ag Development Forum held during the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, representatives of the three commodities outlined challenges each faces in the export market. The industry representatives all agreed that trade agreements such as NAFTA are vital. recorded some dismay at the Forum: “A trade war would be cataclysmic. We support modernizing our trade agreements, but we do not want anyone to do harm to us or the rest of agriculture.”

For sweet potatoes, loss of market share is a challenge. “It’s not because we can’t supply because we have the supply to be able to maintain our share. 40% of our product is exported so we must maintain that. The challenge that we have is technology in the hands of competitor countries. We must stay on top of our advancement in technology,” said Kelly McIver, executive director of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.

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