New Zealand, Australia, News January 2023

‘Potatoes aren’t particularly good swimmers’: Potatoes NZ CEO warns excess wet weather may cause potato shortage

Wild weather could be taking a toll on the humble spud. The prolonged spell of wet weather has sparked concern New Zealand could be in danger of a potato shortage.

Potatoes need drier conditions when it reaches harvest time, and some Australian supermarkets have started rationing frozen potato products.

Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge told NewstalkZB in a live interview that “potatoes aren’t particularly good swimmers and don’t like being submerged in water for long periods.” Claridge said access to the fields to harvest the crops is also hampered in the wet weather.

Gerhard Uys reports for Stuff.co.nz that record amounts of rainfall before Christmas are expected to lead to an early season potato shortage and higher prices.

Waikato potato and onion grower Chris Nicholson said the area had record levels of rainfall in November. This meant lower yields, because potatoes needed sunlight and dry soil before harvest, he said. There were forecasts of 50mm of rain for later this week, he said.

Chief executive of Potatoes New Zealand Chris Claridge said while wet weather interrupted harvesting and growth in some areas, it would not disrupt overall supply because potatoes were grown throughout the country and continually harvested.

Source: NewstalkZB. Listen to the interview with Chris Claridge here
Source: Stuff.co.nz. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit NewstalkZB

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