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SLOW BOIL: Rick Mazza is looking for ways to fairly deregulate the potato market. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Mazza questions potato corp relevance

State upper house member Rick Mazza has taken a leading role in the debate about the state’s potato bureaucracy, the Potato Marketing Corporation.

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Manjimup
The southwest communities need to maintain a regulated system of supply of potatoes. It is beneficial to all consumers alike. We know it is a protection system for the growers but we need them. If you want to abolish the board and all the hangers on, that's fine. The Dept of Agriculture can run it with a small team competent men to control it, The supply tonnages are in place and the rules and regulations associated with it. If it goes then several smaller growers will all loose their income and thats what keeps our communities going. The input costs are very high and you can't afford to grow them without some certainty. Quality will then suffer as competition increases and prices decrease. Don't worry about the big players they just want to fill their own pockets and bugger the communities. The problem is happening now and you can see the problems that arise with an over supply of fresh potatoes., Tony Galati is proof of that. You can still encourage export and processing markets separate to the fresh market. If the big boys are that keen to grow spuds steer them in that direction. Whats all the fuss about anyway the retail price of spuds is not expensive and you are guaranteed fresh potatoes dug from the ground only a couple of days ago. Not cool-roomed for months.

Mr Hooker, as I understand it the number of growers has halved in the past 15 years, which suggests to me that south-west communities are being hammered even while the PMC remains in existence. Quality won't suffer because Coles and Woolworths have their own quality controls, as do other retailers. If consumers want to buy lower quality potatoes more cheaply, that is their decision. Input costs might be high but they are made higher by the potato levy and the need to purchase domestic market entitlements.

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WA Revenue most recent financial year

8th-WAMMCO$296.0m
9th-Harvey Beef$284.8m
10th-Galati Group$258.5m
11th↓International Livestock Export$185.4m
12th-Harvey Fresh$170.0m
84 agribusiness ranked by WA revenue most recent financial year

Revenue

21st-CJD Equipment$350.0m
22nd-Coogee$346.0m
23rd↑Galati Group$258.5m
24th↑Perkins Builders$258.0m
25th-International Livestock Export$251.7m
113 private companies - large ranked by revenue most recent financial year

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