Western Australia: Potato growers plan to send more spuds overseas
Western Australia’s embattled potato growers are planning to extend their collaboration in order to reach a sevenfold increase in spud exports within five years.
WA Potato Growers Association chief executive Simon Moltoni said the State’s potato growers faced diminishing returns in a shrinking industry.
But after commissioning industry and export development plans, Moltoni said he was confident growers could achieve better prices and grow the industry provided they gained a bigger slice of export markets: “If we consolidate supply, that gives us critical mass, consistent supply and efficiencies through scale, which takes us into a whole new league, including opening doors with the big multi-national processors.”
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.
As part of the due diligence process, Moltoni and PGAWA chairman Vaughan Carter visited South African citrus growers to study their journey to successfully access and develop the US citrus market.
Mr Carter said a key learning from the trip was that WA potato growers must take a stand and create critical mass to develop new export opportunities: “Growers must control the supply chain to ensure they know what the customer wants, and to ensure they can guarantee that it’s delivered to these discerning customers consistently.”