New Zealand’s potato trade is struggling as exports to some key markets plummeted in December, new figures show. The data shows fry exports were back nearly 40 percent in December compared to the same month a year earlier. Sales to the Philippines were down 77 percent and exports to New Zealand’s largest customer, Australia, were down nearly 50 percent.
According to a report by RNZ’s Riley Kennedy, a dispute broke out last year over claims European producers were dumping frozen fries into markets around the world. Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge believed that was a major factor in the drop in export.
“We can see increased numbers of European fries into markets we normally supply, that’s because they have to go somewhere,” Claridge said. Europe traditionally exported about 400,000 metric tonnes of frozen fries and to put that into context, New Zealand’s total annual exports is the equivalent of two weeks of European exports,” he said. “So they have the ability to swamp markets.”