Tasmanian Farmers Challenge Simplot’s Low Potato Prices
Tasmanian growers are dissatisfied with Simplot, as the company is not paying them enough for their potatoes, even as the company’s profits reportedly increased 10-fold in 2018, writes Weekly Times. Only Simplot’s Australian division produced AUD63.2m for its parent company’s American shareholders last year.
There are about 140 potato growers in Tasmania who sell to Simplot and their vegetables are there processed to become products in some of the company’s most famous brands including Birdy’s Eye, John West, Leggo’s and Edgell.
However, growers say they are struggling to make ends meet, and so they have collectively rejected the latest pay offer from the company, the report said citing Simplot’s Potato Growers Group chairman Trevor Hall.
According to the information, the growers are requesting an additional four cents a kilo for their potatoes, to come into effect immediately, as well as a two-year contract before they negotiate again. However, Simplot is willing to offer an additional two cents a kilo this year, with an additional one cent rise in each of the following two years, locked into a three-year contract.
The report notes it has been a tumultuous decade for Simplot in Tasmania, with fears it would close its Devonport processing plant, before signed multi-million dollar deals with Coles and Woolworths to supply Australian-grown vegetables.
Negotiations between growers and Simplot are set to continue in the future.