Indonesia looks to WA potatoes

18 Dec, 2008 10:27 AM

Western Australia's world class seed potato industry was in the spotlight during a recent a visit by Indonesian Government officials and industry specialists.

The Indonesian visit was organised by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

The department is working to optimise the productivity of potato and associated vegetable cropping systems in four Indonesian provinces through a project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Department horticulture director Terry Hill said the $1.8 million four-year project aimed to improve both Indonesian and Western Australian production and develop trade in seed potatoes.

Mr Hill said the visiting group met with seed potato growers and packers in WA, and discussed handling, and pest and disease control issues with department experts.

"The tour was successful in demonstrating the high quality of WA seed, how this is achieved through the pest and disease-free environment, the skills of our farmers, and sophisticated seed inspection, handling and storage," Mr Hill said.

"These principles need to be incorporated into the Indonesian system where handling of seed potatoes and pest and disease control may not be adequate, resulting in low yields and variable quality."

Previous visits by Indonesian quarantine officials have led to WA becoming one of only three locations from which Indonesia allows import of seed potatoes.

Currently WA exports 2,000 tonnes of seed potatoes valued at $2.1 million with good potential for growth.

It is hoped the recent visit will enable WA to gain increased access to the Indonesian seed potato market.



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