Australia: AU growers looking to export seed potatoes to Egypt
Seed potato exports to Egypt are being flagged as a new opportunity for West Australian potato producers hit by tomato potato psyllid trade restrictions.
The Potato Growers Association of Western Australia was set to receive $60,000 in State Government funding, chief executive Simon Moltoni said. The money would be used to build up trade relations between the two countries.
This would be met with a $40,000 contribution from the association, Mr Moltoni said.
He said the potential market in Egypt was the same size as the whole WA seed potato industry and could provide huge growth potential.
"The size of this market is 10,000 tonne. It is bigger than just the effect the TPP has had and it will give growers an option if they choose to participate. We would be looking to entice new growers into the seed industry."
Mr Moltoni said WA was well placed to export to Egypt because of the alternate seasons, and lack of supply during the off-season.
However, he said the same market would not be available for eating potatoes because of competition from European producers.
Saving grace for embattled growers
Many WA potato growers have left the industry because of market uncertainty.
Mr Moltoni said Egypt opened up growth opportunities internationally.
"It has been a difficult 10 months or more with deregulation, the closure of Smiths and two biosecurity incursions," he said. "However, farmers are optimists by nature, and this is a very positive project and a chance for growth in the market."
The $100,000 project would be made up of five components: a trip to Egypt to meet industry representatives, a strategy development workshop, a visit from Egyptian industry representatives to WA and two final reports detailing the benefits and recommendations for stakeholders.
The project is scheduled to end in September next year.