Potato growers relieved as South Australia market reopens

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
South West potato growers are relieved after South Australia reopened its doors to imports in December.
Camera IconSouth West potato growers are relieved after South Australia reopened its doors to imports in December. Credit: Getty

There is more relief for South West potato farmers after last week’s announcement that South Australia will reopen its doors to West Australian potatoes.

The State is the last to restart importing WA produce almost two years after the Eastern States implemented a ban following the discovery of tomato potato psyllid in February 2017.

Potato Growers Association of Western Australia executive officer Simon Moltoni said it was a significant positive for suppliers of seed and fresh potatoes.

“There is a demand in South Australia right now for certain varieties and it forms an important part of our market overall,” he said.

“When the outbreak of TPP occurred and we lost market access it meant that if we had a surplus of potatoes farmers would just plough them in.

“This gives us a market we can sell into and even when we get high supply there is still an opportunity to get a return.”

He said it also gave the WA industry a chance to capitalise on a shortage of supply that occur in the east coast market.

“Western Australia is a supplier of potatoes for 12 months of the year,” he said.

“The Myalup strip and Busselton area supply through spring, autumn and winter while the Manjimup and Pemberton area supplying through summer and into Autumn.

“Most States are unable to do that so there is market opportunities for both seed and fresh potatoes into those other markets.”

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government had placed an emphasis on bolstering plant biosecurity as soon as it came to power last year.

“A mammoth effort has gone into proving that WA is free of the CLso bacteria – more than 10,000 psyllids have been tested by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development,” she said.

“That effort has paid off and it is good to see other jurisdictions have followed the science and reopened interstate trade.”

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