New Zealand, Australia, Sustainability, Trends

Australian potato farmers ‘doing it for nothing’ warn of mass exodus amid stagnant prices

Potato farmers are warning that growers will walk away from the industry as cost pressures make the staple crop unviable in Australia. As Angus Mackintosh of ABC Great Southern reports, unlike most vegetables, potatoes are not traded on wholesale markets that rise and fall with supply and demand.

Instead, they are sold by farmers to companies that wash and package them (washpackers) and set prices with supermarkets in much the same way as dairy milk processors.

“It’s not really a free market. The price doesn’t really go up or down for the farmer based on demand or supply,” WA Seed Potato Producers president Julian Ackley said.

“When farmers were getting 80 to 90 cents a kilo for potatoes, they were about $4 at the supermarket. Now, they’re getting 40 to 50 cents a kilo and they’re still about $4 at the supermarket — that money is going somewhere,” according to Tony Galati, a potato grower, washpacker and retailer in WA through Spudshed.

Source: ABC. Read the full story here
Photo: Julian Ackley risks losing his farm’s profit for the year if rain doesn’t clear up. Courtesy and credit ABC: Angus Mackintosh.

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