You say potato, we say poppies

Tasmanian potato growers are in a stand-off with food processor Simplot over the price of spuds.

About 120 growers, from an area producing a third of the national crop, have refused to sign company contracts to grow potatoes for French fries at 6.65c/kg. They want 8.45c/kg, up 33% on last year’s price, because of rising fertiliser costs.

The farmers say they are ready to abandon their previously profitable potatoes and grow other crops, such as poppies.

Former grower and industry expert Mike Badcock has said that global food shortages and low stockpiles would force processors like Simplot and McCain to compete with retail consumers for whole potatoes.

“The supermarket price of potatoes will rise. It could double,” he said.

Simplot Potato Grower Group chairman, Stephen Earley, representing the growers, said it was up to Simplot to end the stand-off.

For further information contact:

Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association

Genevieve Turville

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