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Wet weather causes NZ potato shortage

Stocks of potato chips are stretched thin as New Zealand battles a nationwide potato shortage after a wet winter.

A spokesperson with the country’s largest food distributor, Foodstuffs, said some of the potato chip suppliers were “having challenges meeting demand” due to the wet weather conditions.

It is not yet believed that the shortage will impact on the availability of fresh potato stocks.

According to Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) president Brent Wilcox, wet conditions right through winter have had two effects on crops. “Planting up new season crops, growers haven’t been able to plant the crops on time because the ground’s been so wet,” he said, adding other crops have been lost because the potatoes have been in the ground over winter, and the wet conditions have caused them to rot. PVGA represents in excess of 230 vegetable growing businesses from the Auckland region.

Wilcox said the financial impact was “millions of dollars” for farmers, who may struggle for the rest of the year to return supply to normal. “It’s been quite stressful for growers . . . some growers have lost crops, they’ve been flooded.”

Wilcox said wet weather impacting potato growing happened “to an extent” every year, “but this is quite, perhaps, more extreme than it has been for a while.”

New Zealand was last hit by a potato shortage in late 2014 to early 2015 for similar reasons.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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