The opportunities for the potato industry lie in a planned series of sustainable developments, says Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge. “We don’t see a boom and bust with potatoes, just a gradual improvement,” he says. The sector is now close to a one billion dollar industry.
Claridge says looking at the value of exports per hectare they estimate the export receipts per hectare are three times that of dairy.
“Our environmental footprint is good as well, so it is a good crop in terms of generating domestic value and export opportunities. “Our total industry value at the end of 2017 was $982m, so it is close to a one billion dollar industry.”
Frozen Fry exports have gone from $76.7m to $91.70m between 2013 and 2017. The industry has 173 growers, many based in mid Canterbury.
“Almost two thirds of our crop is grown in the Canterbury region now. In the Canterbury region and North Otago you have five chip processing plants.
“We have two large processors – McCains in Ashburton and Talleys in Timaru — and smaller processors, Mahikhi Fries, Heartland Chips and Mr Chips, with small plants at Christchurch.
“Heartland is a good example of vertical integration where the farming family is both a grower and processor,” Claridge says. “But then you see bigger, more international corporate models in McCains. So there is room for both types of operations in the marketplace.”
The industry sees opportunities in fitting in with other farming practices – small seeds, specialised seeds, mixed cropping and dairying.
Read the full report on Rural News. Chris Claridge can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Potatoes NZ website at https://potatoesnz.co.nz to learn more about the potato industry in that country.