Recently appointed Potatoes NZ chief executive Kate Trufitt, concerned about potato growers losing prime land to urban sprawl, says land use is one of the industry’s major challenges.
In 2016, 11,680ha of land was used for growing potatoes. This has dropped to 8424ha, according to Potatoes New Zealand’s statistics.
A director of Horticulture NZ, Kate has held many roles in the horticulture sector.
According to the Potatoes NZ website, she has a great breadth of experience from plant nursery, growing, post-harvest and processing through to the market – both domestic and export.
This experience has been gained across several horticultural crops.
According to HortNZ’s website, she chairs the Kiwifruit Industry Health and Safety Forum and the NZ Hort Health and Safety Council. She is also a member of the NZ Avocado Packers Forum.
Interviewed by Rural News, Kate said highly productive land is being gobbled up by housing.
“This is a concern not only for NZ but worldwide where we are seeing the demand for potatoes outstripping the supply,” she said.
Other challenges facing potato growers are compliance and regulatory changes, rising costs, global markets and change in diets.