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In 2014, 105,517 tonnes were sold to overseas markets – worth $103 million to the New Zealand industry.

Around three quarters of that was sold as frozen potato products (75,000 tonnes), with most of that tonnage made up of French fries. View more export statistics reports at the bottom of this page.

Frozen processed potatoes make up the bulk of exports as fresh potatoes are currently prohibited access to many potential markets for phytosanitary reasons.

Frozen Processed Potato Exports

Frozen processing is dominated by McCain Foods of Canada, which has a plant in Timaru, and Mr Chips with plants in Auckland and Christchurch. The main processing varieties are Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Shepody, which have an average yield of around 60t/ha. The frozen processed potato industry has shown some volatility over the past couple of years, with exports reaching 85,671 tonnes in 2007 but dropping back to 74,971 tonnes in 2014. The main frozen export market is Australia, which takes over 75% of New Zealand’s frozen processed potato exports and is a market which continues to grow. The next largest markets are Japan, French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea, which each take around 6% of New Zealand’s frozen potato exports.

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Fresh Potato Exports

The fresh export market is much smaller, due to the rigorous phytosanitary requirements of most countries. However, in 2014, 29,544 tonnes of fresh potatoes were exported, over 75% of which were sent to Fiji. The remaining 25% are predominately sent to markets in the Pacific and Asia. Fresh potatoes are currently prohibited access to many potential markets, such as Japan and Australia. The industry has recently gained access for fresh potatoes to Taiwan, South Korea and Viet Nam and it is hoped that these markets will grow in importance in the next few years.

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Exports of seed potatoes

New Zealand also has a small market for its export seed potatoes. Around 1000 tonnes were exported in 2014 up from 200 tonnes in 2013, most of which were sent to New Caledonia.