Farmers applaud new Albany fertiliser depot

30 Aug, 2000 03:04 PM
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UNITED Farmers Co-operative opened a new 20,000-tonne fertiliser facility in front of 150 guests at Albany on Wednesday. Performing the opening, Opposition spokesperson for Primary Industries and Fisheries Kim Chance said an ultra modern facility such as the dispatch facility didn't happen by chance, but through careful planning. "What sets United Farmers aside is the co-operative's energy and pioneering work in the service of WA's primary producers," Mr Chance said. "It had the sheer audacity in 1992 to enter the fertiliser field which was already dominated by WA's largest company. Its directors had to find $15.7 million to pay for its first shipment of fertiliser while not having sold any product. Audacious or not ‹ it succeeded." He said the Albany facility was yet another milestone, another symbol of the co-operative's success ‹ its ability to think laterally and the strength in WA of the co-operative movement. "Our farmers are facing serious threats to their viability and United Farmers is working to affect the cost side of their operations," Mr Chance said. He warned of the rationalist agenda which he saw as economic vandalism. "Rationalists do not take into account the social costs of their policies," he said. In his opening remarks, Co-operative chairman Rod Madden referred to the wonderful support the newly formed co-operative received in 1992 to launch its operations in the port of Geraldton, including the huge task of taking on board 47,000 tonnes of fertiliser while capital remained as low as $100,000. "There is a wonderful feeling among the co-operative's 2500 members," Mr Madden said. "Wherever we have built a dispatching facility, patronisation goes through the roof. This new facility in Albany may have to be expanded within two years. "We thank Great Southern farmers for having the patience to wait for today's opening of this facility." Mr Madden said the co-operative made a profit of $4.28m in 1999, equal to two per cent on capital. "Overheads are low," he said. "The price of fertiliser in Albany will not vary from that at Kwinana. This could mean a saving of $1.5m yearly for those users of the Albany facility."

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