West Australia Aims to Increase Exports
West Australian potato farmers are looking to drive up international sales, reports The West Australian. The state’s 70 spud growers are said to be seeking to establish a bulk exporting body by May next year.
After a series of regional grower meetings in recent months, producers stumped up more than USD100,000 to kickstart the new non-profit service provider.
WA Potato Growers Association chief Simon Moltoni, who was cited by the report, said the entity would help drive seven-fold increase with five years of WA’s current 6,000 tons exports a year. According to Moltoni, the body, structured as an “association”, would not transact potato sales but would be responsible for market development and supply chain management, on a fee-for-service basis.
He went on to say that by joining forces to export collaboratively, growers will be able to provide the important critical mass and consistency of supply needed to open doors with big multinational processors. Growers will also benefit from efficiencies on scale.
Work on market development will be ongoing and a list of priority markets for future exports would be developed.
As part of a separately funded project, an industry delegation will travel to Egypt in November to investigate market opportunities and further develop key relationships in-market. WA’s seed potatoes are expected to have big potential in this market, according to the report.
WA growers produce about 80,000 tons of potatoes a year, including seed, fresh and processing stock. Earlier this year, growers near Manjimup were forced to leave potatoes to rot because of a lack of local markets. Moltoni concludes that the entity would be able to provide growers with an alternative to the domestic market, where prices are at the whim of major supermarkets.