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Australia: Chipping into potato debate

Chipping into potato debateRob Broadfield looks at the deregulation of Western Australia’s potato industry and what the challenges mean to consumers. The deregulation of our potato industry was a long time coming. WA was the only Australian jurisdiction with regulated quotas and prices. It was a throwback to 1950s Soviet agricultural planning and out of kilter with a modern market economy. But taking the shackles of regulation off the spud industry was always going to be painful for growers disadvantaged by the change to an open-market regime. Government compensation packages have been made available for growers who choose to exit the industry on viability grounds. And there’s little doubt WA’s three or four big growers will consolidate and become even bigger. The changes will also see “boutique” growers emerging. They will sell unusual varieties to restaurants, speciality grocery stores and direct to customers via online sales. More

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