Potential NZ imports not supported by OZ growers

Potential NZ imports not supported by OZ growersOver an application to allow imports of New Zealand fresh potatoes for processing, Australian potato growers are digging in their heels.

The viability of the Australian potato industry according to Ausveg can be threatened by the imports.

Renewed access for New Zealand potatoes to Australian processing facilities is being seeked by the Ministry of Agriculture so they can be made into potato crisps.

But Ausveg chief executive, Richard Mulcahy says, “Growers are concerned the disease, zebra chip, which has devastated the New Zealand potato industry, could be brought into the country.”

New Zealand growers last year had to face a cost of $43 million due to the disease.

Import application will be fought vigorously by Australian growers.

Much like the apple access debate, the fight to export fresh potatoes too can lead to a long-drawn affair, the New Zealand industry stated.

To gain access to Australia, a lot of effort was needed, Potato Sector chair Terry Olsen said.

Currently, 50, 000 tonnes of frozen potatoes are exported annually by the industry to Australia which is more than $40 million.