Grant offers boost for potato growers

Michael PhilippsHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Potato farmer Colin Ayres is pushing for biosecurity laws in the Albany and Denmark growing region to protect the future of seed growing.
Camera IconPotato farmer Colin Ayres is pushing for biosecurity laws in the Albany and Denmark growing region to protect the future of seed growing. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A YARLOOP potato grower says a $150,000 State Government grant for a custom-built washing/grading/packaging line will benefit the South West industry.

Fox Farms Pty Ltd owner Patrick Fox said his company had identified an opportunity overseas in Singapore and the Middle East to supply premium washed and brushed potatoes.

“We are hoping that will relieve some of the pressure on the local market here at the moment as prices are at the lowest they have ever been,” he said.

“We already currently export around three-and-a-half thousand tonne of seed potatoes and fresh processing potatoes.

“Now we will be exporting washed potatoes as well.

“We are not looking at growing those ourselves, we will out source them so growers will bring them to us under a contractual agreement and we will wash and export them.”

Mr Fox said he hoped the first shipment of washed potatoes would leave in August.

“By the end of next year we expect to be exporting around 5000 tonne of fresh, washed potatoes,” he said.

“That is equivalent to around nine or 10 per cent of the whole local market at the moment.

“We hope it will improve the local price and move some of that surplus which will be a win-win for everybody.”

Mr Fox said his company was getting the machine built in WA.

“We wanted to support WA industries so we have a guy in WA who is really good at manufacturing vegetable equipment,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails