17 Feb 2011

Potato exports approved to South Korea

7:18 am on 17 February 2011

Commercial potato growers have gained access to export potatoes to South Korea, after years of negotiations.

Potatoes New Zealand chair Terry Olsen says the industry has been working for 16 years to gain access to the Asian market.

He says the last remaining hurdle was crossed this week when South Korea finalised its import requirements for fresh potatoes from New Zealand.

Mr Olsen says South Korea has been one of the industry's biggest export targets.

He says the market is valued at $10 million dollars and it is now up to New Zealand growers to work together cohesively to try to extract some of that value for this country.

Mr Olsen says South Korea currently imports 16,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes a year, mostly for crisps.

He says the United States provides 80% of those imports, with Australia making up the rest.

Mr Olsen says the volume of imports is expected to increase as South Korea's population grows.