New Zealand's 380 growers reported a disastrous 1999-2000 season because of increased acreage, excellent growing conditions, and high yields which resulted in depressed market prices.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Arable Monitoring Report-which reflects the views those of industry and not necessarily those of the ministry-said potato growers received NZ$60 to NZ$80 a ton compared to $300/ton last year.
There were reports of growers selling for as low as NZ$35 a ton for stock food because there was no other outlet for their product. Several supermarkets sold top-quality washed and pre-packed potatoes at 25 cents a kilogram (2.2 pounds).
In 1999, some 12,083 hectare (a hectare is equal to 2.47 acres) were planted and total production was about 500,000 tons.