BusinessPotatoes New Zealand joins government biosecurity initiative

Potatoes New Zealand joins government biosecurity initiative

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Potatoes New Zealand Inc. (PNZ) has become the 14th partner organization to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response.

The value of the New Zealand potato industry is $814 million per annum. There are 169 registered potato growers in the country, 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 (Ministry for Primary Industries) 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 minimize the potential impact from biosecurity pests and disease.”

According to Chris Claridge, chief executive, Potatoes New Zealand, biosecurity prevention and planning are essential to ensure the commercial well-being 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.”

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 recognized 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 Rich. “The 13 other partners wholeheartedly welcome PNZ to the GIA partnership. We look forward to working with them to jointly manage biosecurity readiness and response.”

Source: Potatoes New Zealand

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