Pota­toes all pos­i­tive

Pota­toes New Zealand's an­nual gen­eral meet­ing had plenty of good news for grow­ers.

NZ Grower - - Potatoes Nz Inc. -

The 2017-18 an­nual re­sults of Pota­toes New Zealand Inc. make for pleas­ing read­ing, with pos­i­tive re­sults achieved both as an or­gan­i­sa­tion and an in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to chair­man Stu­art Wright.

Ad­dress­ing the PNZ an­nual meet­ing, held in con­junc­tion with a potato re­search fo­rum at Plant & Food Re­search, Lin­coln, Wright said the potato in­dus­try had per­formed well.

“Based on the levy re­ceived, the 2017 es­ti­mated farm-gate value is $170 mil­lion, an over­all in­crease of 65 per­cent over the last five years,” he said. “In com­par­i­son, the 2013 far­m­gate value was es­ti­mated at $103m. This demon­strates that in­dus­try value is in­creas­ing in real terms for the grower.

“Ex­port­ing pota­toes and potato prod­ucts is also part of this suc­cess story.”

A to­tal of $129.3m of ex­ports for the year ended De­cem­ber 2017 was made up of $91.6m of frozen fries, $8.2m of crisps and $29.5m of fresh pota­toes, a 7.5 per­cent in­crease com­pared with 2016.

The over­all value of the potato in­dus­try, in­clud­ing the do­mes­tic and ex­port markets, was $982m as at De­cem­ber 2017. This was a 27 per­cent in­crease in value since 2013. All sec­tors of the in­dus­try were pos­i­tive, with both do­mes­tic and ex­ports of fresh pota­toes achiev­ing good prices in markets. At the same time, in­creased or­gan­i­sa­tional ac­tiv­ity and per­for­mance had been achieved, he said.

The PNZ 2017 strate­gic plan con­tin­ues to fo­cus on three main themes; re­search and de­vel­op­ment, markets and qual­ity to help achieve the in­dus­try goals of dou­bling ex­ports by 2025, in­creas­ing do­mes­tic mar­ket value by 50 per­cent by 2025, and in­creas­ing prof­itabil­ity per hectare by $150 per an­num.

“There were 20 strate­gic ini­tia­tives planned in the 2017 busi­ness plan to as­sist in achiev­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tional goals,” he said.

“All are un­der­way and progress is re­ported on reg­u­larly to the board of PNZ.”

“Based on the levy re­ceived, the 2017 es­ti­mated farm-gate value is $170 mil­lion, an over­all in­crease of 65 per­cent over the last five years,” STU­ART WRIGHT

With one year left to run in the cur­rent levy pe­riod which ends in 2019, PNZ was build­ing a strong plat­form for the next levy pe­riod from 2019-2025. It fin­ished the year with a net profit of $227,000, adding to fi­nan­cial re­serves of just un­der $1.5m. This had been achieved through good fis­cal man­age­ment and an un­bud­geted in­crease in levy re­turn of 14 per­cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year.

Grow­ers had voted to con­tinue the com­mod­ity levy for 2019-2025. Mem­ber­ship turnout was 41 per­cent, with 82 per­cent vot­ing for the levy’s con­tin­u­a­tion.

“The wide­spread sup­port re­ceived from grow­ers dur­ing the levy con­sul­ta­tion process for PNZ’s strat­egy and busi­ness plan means that PNZ is in a strong po­si­tion to act ac­cord­ing to grower wishes over the next levy pe­riod,” Wright said.

“Hav­ing heard from grow­ers dur­ing the levy con­sul­ta­tion process, PNZ will fo­cus on demon­stra­ble re­turns from the re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme and on prof­itable farm­ing, given the cur­rent com­pli­ance re­quire­ments.”

There were 18 re­search projects cur­rently funded by PNZ.

Chris Clar­idge, chief ex­ec­u­tive of PNZ thanked the board and mem­bers for their sup­port and pos­i­tive feed­back.

“We have a good solid base and clear di­rec­tion for the fu­ture,” he said.

“The team at PNZ is com­mit­ted to en­sure that demon­stra­ble value is achieved for levy fun­ders.”

Bharat Bhana and Mike Mo­leta were both re-elected un­op­posed as PNZ di­rec­tors af­ter re­tir­ing by ro­ta­tion. The chair­man paid trib­ute to the work of Clint Smythe who had re­signed.

One di­rec­tor will be co-opted to fill the va­cancy.

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