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    Thrilled by the potential the free trade agreement with China brings, potato chip-maker Steven Wong of Fresher Foods is spending $2.8 million on new machinery to double his factory's production.

    "The free trade agreement opens up an almost unlimited potential,"he said.

    But the chief executive of Fresher Foods is now faced with a new problem - New Zealand does not have enough potatoes to meet China's demands.

    Mr Wong, 60, who was in Beijing as part of the delegation accompanying New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, said the new machinery at his East Tamaki chip factory to be installed this month would double weekly production to 800 tonnes.

    "China wants 25 tonnes of potato chips from us every week, but we can only supply them with that quantity in a month."

    Horticulture New Zealand's potato product group manager, Ron Gall: "New Zealand has the potential to increase production of potatoes but competition for land use here is fierce,"he said.

    "So, if the price is right, more will grow potatoes, but don't expect them to switch crops if they are going to be paid rock-bottom prices."

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