Western Australia Seeks to Improve Potato Export Rates
Western Australia (WA) potato growers plan to collaborate to drive a sevenfold increase in spud exports in the next five year, The West has revealed.
In a bid to support farmers who are faced with diminishing returns in a shrinking industry, the WA Potato Growers Association commissioned industry and export development plans to gain a bigger slice of the export market.
“If we consolidate supply that gives us critical mass, consistent supply, and efficiencies through sale which takes us into a whole new league, including opening doors with the big multi-national processors,” said Simon Moltoni, chief executive of WA Potato Growers Association.
A new body would be responsible for market development and management and provide a service to growers, rather than transact sales.
Establishment costs would be funded via an industry adjustment package from the State Government following deregulation, and service fees would cover ongoing costs.
The body would be a not-for-profit, with any surplus returned to participating growers.
Moltoni said analysis, undertaken as part of the export development plan, determined the new entity should focus on export opportunities in the seed and processing potato categories, though fresh potatoes could be considered in the future. He said the next stage would be further industry consultation, with grower meetings being held over the next two months.
Provided the entity gets industry support, it could be operating by April 2020. WA growers produce about 80,000 tons of potatoes a year, including seed, fresh and chip stock and 6000 tons of that is exported. The target is to increase exports to 40,000 tons in five years.