NZ Aims For Far East Markets

Published online: Sep 11, 2002
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New Zealand potato leaders believe they can successfully compete in Far East export markets despite China’s massive 16 million tons of exports a year.

Tony Moleta, chairman of the New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Federation’s potato section, said China is in its third year of exporting to the Southeast Asian region. Volumes out of China are affecting prices in those markets.

“I think this is only the start,” he said. “It won’t be long and China’s exports will be affecting the European markets.”

Moleta said the key to providing what the market wants is to be consistent and reliable. New Zealand must ensure it can provide top-quality potatoes whether it is for the table market or processing, he stated.

“We won’t beat China on price, but as an industry we can make New Zealand’s reputation as the home of top-quality potatoes.”

New Zealand has slowly gained access to the Philippine processing market and making progress with Taiwanese and South Korean officials.

He said the export access issues are often related to information about pest and disease risks. Information is also wanted about the environment a crop comes from, how it is grown, including what fertilizers and sprays have been applied, and in some cases they even want to know the quality of water, he added.