2 Apr 2016

Application to export spuds to Australia withdrawn

6:29 am on 2 April 2016

Potatoes New Zealand has backed off trying to export potatoes to Australia because of economics, not biosecurity the company says.

Farmer with basket of organic potatoes.

Photo: AFP

The company had applied to the Australian government seeking market access for fresh potatoes for processing into Australia, but since withdrew the application.

The Australian industry campaigned against the request, based on risk posed by the tomato-potato psyllid which can carry the Zebra chip disease.

Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge said the company had decided to pursue other more promising markets for potatoes.

"We have to look at what resources we're spending and where best to get a return for growers, in this case we've looked at the Australian market, and for some seven years we've been seeking entry into this market and felt that in reality the chances of us getting a quick and a fair and equitable resolution to this were relatively slim, given what we'd seen with other grower groups.

"It was felt simply that we should re-allocate resources to other markets that are more fair and equitable to enter and engage with. It didn't to our minds represent any biosecurity risk and we don't see any scientific rationale for it, it's merely just saying 'well ok, there is little point in pursuing this, let's move on'."

Australian research showed there could be a biosecurity risk, but Mr Claridge was confident there was not.

- RNZ / ABC

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