New Zealand potato exports reached a record high in the past year as more than $100 million worth of produce left New Zealand shores.
Over 93,000 metric tonnes of potatoes, including 30,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes and 62,000 tonnes in frozen products, were sold overseas in the year to 30 June 2011.
In the previous 12-month period to the end of June 2010, $92 million of potatoes were exported.
Potatoes New Zealand, the industry representative body, says increasing demand in the key markets of Australia, Japan and Korea, coupled with a fall in the New Zealand dollar, contributed to the record year.
Another key driver was the establishment of the sector’s Export Market Development Group in 2009. The group has helped New Zealand to gain access to the Taiwanese and South Korean markets and it is hoped the first commercial shipments will be available next year.
Potatoes New Zealand Chairman Terry Olsen says: “Reaching $100 million in export sales is a significant industry milestone. It is proof that New Zealand growers’ hard work and commitment to producing high quality potatoes is paying off.”
Contributing to the record value of exports was a 2.4% increase in the tonnage of fresh potato exports. More than 293,000 tonnes of New Zealand potatoes and potato products have been exported over the last three years.
Potatoes New Zealand Business Manager Ron Gall believes increasing New Zealand’s overseas markets is vital to the longevity and future of the potato industry.
“Our export market development projects are crucial to achieving and maintaining industry growth despite considerable challenges from the tomato-potato psyllid. New Zealand growers and industry partners need to work together to compete internationally to achieve real industry success.”
For more information about Potatoes New Zealand and the New Zealand potato export market please visit www.potatoesnz.co.nz