Potatoes NZ joins GIA

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Stuart Wright and Hon Nathan Guy dig potatoes

Potatoes New Zealand Inc. (PNZ) today became the 14th partner organisation to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. The Deed was signed by representatives from PNZ at a ceremony held on a potato farm in Koputaroa. Attendees included PNZ and Government representatives, the Hon Nathan Guy – Minister for Primary Industries and the GIA Secretariat.

The potato industry is a $814 million per annum business. There are 169 registered potato growers in New Zealand, producing 479,000 metric tonnes of potatoes in 2015, from 10,700 hectares planted.

Like all other horticulture industries, the potato industry faces a number of biosecurity threats that could damage the industry. One at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment is Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP).

Stuart Wright, PNZ Chair, said they gained widespread support for joining GIA after extensive consultation with members of the potato and wider agricultural industries.

“MPI have really lifted their game in the biosecurity space, implementing a number of key initiatives to help with the early detection of pests and diseases. PNZ considers it is important to play our part as potato farmers to help prepare for, and minimise the potential impact from biosecurity pests and disease.”

“Biosecurity prevention and planning are essential to ensure the commercial wellbeing of the potato and wider horticulture industries. Potatoes are a much loved part of every New Zealander’s meals. We need to protect potatoes from biosecurity pests and diseases to ensure future generations to come will continue to enjoy potatoes with their meals.” says Chris Claridge, Chief Executive, Potatoes New Zealand.

GIA Secretariat Manager Steve Rich welcomed PNZ on behalf of the GIA partnership saying the new addition will further strengthens efforts to deliver better biosecurity outcomes.

“It’s great that PNZ have recognised the benefits of partnering with other industry groups and Government. PNZ represents one of the larger vegetable crops and is a significant addition to the partnership,” says Mr Rich.

“The thirteen other partners whole heartedly welcome PNZ to the GIA partnership. We look forward to working with them to jointly manage biosecurity readiness and response.”