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The Philippines Opens Market For NZ Potatoes

The accreditation of a heat treatment process to eradicate potential pests has opened up a potential million-dollar market in the Philippines for New Zealand potato growers, Agriculture and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the Philippines was a large potential market for the export of New Zealand potatoes for the manufacture of potato crisps, but New Zealand exporters had difficulties in selling into that market because of biosecurity concerns.

After discussions between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry, new phytosanitary requirements were negotiated. It was agreed that if Philippine processing plants adopted heat treatments to sterilise processing waste, then certification and testing requirements for viruses and nematodes on the potatoes on entry into the Philippines could be dropped.

The Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry has now accredited the heat treatment facilities of a potato crisp manufacturer.

Mr Sutton said the potential potato processing market in the Philippines had been estimated as worth approximately $1 million to New Zealand.

No longer having to put potatoes through a testing in the Philippines would also save exporters considerable amounts of money, he said.

"Vegetable and fruit exports are vitally important to the New Zealand economy. Last year, horticulture exports reached $2 billion a year for the first time ever. The Government is working actively to find new markets and to increase access to current markets, in partnership with the industry."

He said MAF officials had been working with the potato industry and the Philippines Government on this issue since April last year.


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