New Centre of Excellence for Kiwi Potato Industry

The board of Potatoes NZ Inc. (PNZ) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lincoln University to launch a research partnership which includes a Centre of Excellence for Potato Research and Extension, based in Canterbury.

Lincoln University Associate Professor of Plant Science, Clive Kaiser, will be the establishment Director for the Centre of Excellence for Potato Research and Extension, and he said the new Centre will be extension-led and grower-centric and believes it will be a game changer for the potato industry.

Clive Kaiser

The fundamental tenet of the concept of ‘extension’ is to extend the knowledge gained through research, typically conducted by universities and research centres, to growers in the field.

“The research conducted at the Centre will be focused on working with potato growers to identify and understand the problems confronting them and to devise solutions to those problems,” noted Kaiser.

“The solutions will be developed through discovering new knowledge, as well as by using existing knowledge in new ways, and will be underpinned by strong local, national and international collaborations. This cooperative, collaborative research approach will have immediate, significant and long-lasting benefits for NZ growers.”

CEO of PNZ, Chris Claridge said solving grower and industry problems was the key purpose, with the partnership enabling PNZ to do so more effectively. The New Zealand Potato industry is valued at over $1 billion per annum, with 175 growers across the country and multiple frozen chip and crisp processors.

“We’re very excited to be involved with Lincoln University, especially with their track record in agricultural research and education,” added Stuart Wright, the Chair of PNZ’s board.

As a specialist land-based university, Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki Lincoln University continues to play an important role in shaping a more productive and sustainable future for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“In signing this MOU and partnering with PNZ to establish a Centre of Excellence in Potato Research and Extension based at our Lincoln campus, we will be contributing the University’s considerable expertise and resources to support the potato industry to drive future success and address its major challenges,” noted Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards.

“Lincoln University is committed to building collaborative partnerships with industry and research providers to achieve innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing land-based challenges, and this determination aligns completely with PNZ’s ambition to build a secure and sustainable future for Aotearoa’s potato growing industry.”