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