China Potato Industry Not Ready

Published online: Dec 15, 2000
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United States potato equipment industry representatives say selling mechanized potato-handling equipment into China is not easy.

One manufacturer took a harvester into a Mongolian province to demonstrate how it could lift two rows at a time and load wagons for easy transport.

Early on the morning of a demonstration, several dozen local villagers sat in front of the tractor and harvester, refusing to move. Government officials had to bodily move them for the demonstration to proceed. The people are afraid of losing their jobs.

In addition, rats are so abundant in the agricultural areas that after a harvester makes a pass, they can be seen by the dozens running down the rows.

Another threat is the Cobra snake. Plentiful in the area because of the rats, they are also scattered throughout potato fields and annually kill field workers. During the demonstration project, a Cobra was lifted up the primary chain on to the table. It was quickly grabbed by a worker before it could strike.

U.S. potato equipment manufacturers are moving some equipment into China, but officials say that unless there is protection operations cannot proceed.