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Export Focus for WA Potato Industry

WA Potatoes

New collaborative entity being evaluated to form a platform for future potato exports

A major effort to develop export opportunities is underway in the WA potato industry. Faced with diminishing industry growth and returns, the Potato Growers Association of WA (PGAWA) have commissioned an Industry Development Plan, and subsequently an Export Development Plan which have revealed that current business models do not support growth, and unless industry structures move towards collective models, will continue to decline. 

The report recommended four options to grow export development in WA, with the PGAWA identifying two of the recommended options for further due diligence and investigation. 

To understand how the collective export approach could work, WA Potatoes Chair, Vaughan Carter and CEO, Simon Moltoni recently had the opportunity to go on a study tour and discuss with South African citrus growers their journey to success in accessing and developing the United States citrus market. 

Vaughan concluded that a key learning from the trip for the WA potato industry was that growers must take a stand and create critical mass to drive the structural change in the industry, 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,” said Vaughan. 

The market analysis undertaken as part of the Export Development Plan determined that the entity should focus on the opportunities in both the seed and processing categories for export initially.  The export entity could consider ware potato exports at some time in the future, but for now the opportunities are in seed and processing potatoes for export.  

CEO of the PGAWA, Simon Moltoni said the next stage will be further industry consultation with meetings to be held across growing regions during August and September.  “We are on a very tight timeline with this project and aim to have a completed strategy plan in place by early 2020. It is crucial to have the whole of industry on board as we move towards an amazing opportunity for a more profitable future,” said Simon.

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