Grant of­fers boost for potato grow­ers

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Michael Philipps

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 low- est 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.

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