New Zealand has been hit by an acute shortage of potatoes badly affecting the production of chips, or crisps, in what has been dubbed a "chipocalypse". The shortage is largely attributed to adverse weather conditions, which include two "weather bombs" and floods.
At least 20% of the country's annual potato crop has been wiped out. Mainly affected are the varieties that go into making crisps. In some regions, as much as 30% of the crop has failed.
Supermarkets have already raised an alarm but expressed the hope that the situation may not be all that bad.
"The grower community is highlighting a potential future potato shortage due to the bad weather we've had this year," said Antoinette Laird, chief of external relations at the suppliers Foodstuffs NZ. "This has not impacted our business as yet, and we are working with our suppliers to minimise any potential impact. Some growers are struggling with the impact of the weather but - as the grower community has said – the weather plays a part every year," added Laird, according to TVNZ.
There are concerns that the shortage could have an adverse impact on Christmas feasts. Though no panic buying has been reported, some supermarkets have placed signs indicating there is a shortage.
"This will go on for several months - the wet weather hasn't stopped. The issue is we don't have a corresponding dry period that allows farmers onto the fields," said Chris Claridge, head of the industry body Potatoes New Zealand, reports the News Hub.
"Companies who process their crisps in the North Island are mostly affected; companies who process their crisping potatoes in the South Island aren't as affected because the weather hasn't affected them as much," Claridge added.
The new crop of "crisping" potatoes is to be harvested in the coming weeks and production is expected to be adequate to meet the growing demand, local reports say.