Australia: Western Australian potatoes trying to regain market access
Western Australian potato farmers might see markets in the eastern states reopen in the near future. At this time, they are still closed to WA produce following the tomato potato psyllid outbreak last year.
Potato Growers Association of WA chief executive officer Simon Moltoni said the potato industry and state government were working through the Transition to Management Plan, aiming to regain market access.Moltoni: “We still haven’t regained market access to the East coast. That’s been a major issue to our growers. We’re still able to sell internationally.”Thewest.com.au reported how last year four properties in Myalup were quarantined due to the psyllid; however, no properties in WA are under quarantine any longer.Mr Moltoni said under one part of the plan, research was being done on chemical and biological controls for the psyllid, which were being tested in a greenhouse environment. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development undertook testing of psyllids, looking for the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which causes the damage to the crops.During this testing period, 28,000 psyllids were captured of which 8,000 were tested for the bacteria. Moltoni stated those tests came back negative and if the round of testing this March returns the same result, discussions could begin to reopen interstate markets.“We can’t start the discussion until the tests come back. But the industry is very keen to start conversations as soon as possible.”