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Australian potato supply drops as farmers struggle to grow crops on little water allocation

Australian potato prices have risen sharply in some sections of the fresh market on the back of falling supply as many growers across NSW struggle to get a crop in due to drought, low water allocations and high water prices.\

Chris Cope of Sydney Produce Surveyors said prices for 20 kilograms of large, washed whites had gone from around $30, to $45 and could go higher into summer. “The drought has just reduced the ability for growers to produce the quality and quantity we usually get,” Mr Cope said.

Some processing companies have also raised contract prices as an incentive for growers to keep producing, despite the challenges.

Unlike other agricultural sectors, potato growers installing new bores or dams to compensate for low allocations will not have any of the costs covered by the federal government, vegetable growers not eligible for the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

The rebate allows for growers to claim 25 per cent of water infrastructure expenses, up to $25,000.

Ausveg national public affairs manager, Tyson Cattle, said the rebate had recently been extended to permanent plantings to help fruit and nut industries, but vegetable growers were still left out.

Full report on Good Fruit and Vegetables here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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