11 Aug 2015

New Zealand spuds head to Vietnam

7:51 am on 11 August 2015

New Zealand's fresh potato crops have been cleared for export to Vietnam after three years of negotiations, industry organisation Potatoes New Zealand says.

Farmer with basket of organic potatoes.

Photo: AFP

Chief executive Champak Mehta said Vietnam would absorb excess New Zealand potatoes in a good growing season and drive prices up when the crop here was small.

"We produce anywhere between 500,000 and 525,000 tonnes of potatoes here in New Zealand every year. We export about 30,000 tonnes of that, so about six percent.

"Seventy-five percent of what we export goes to Fiji and the rest goes to various markets in Asia. Adding Vietnam to that list is very promising, because we're counter-cyclical to Vietnam demand, so we can step in there and fill a gap when they have a supply shortage for processing."

He said projected export volumes to Vietnam were not yet clear.

Mr Mehta said New Zealand's potato exports were worth about $100 million each year - $15 million for raw tubers and $85 million for processed food, mainly frozen french fries.

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