Potato oversupply due to crop pest is driving Western Australian growers out of the industry

Joe Mercuri holds out four healthy-looking potatoes to the camera.An oversupply of potatoes in Western Australia is driving several South West growers out of the industry. Farmers were dealt a blow in February this year when an exotic pest — the tomato potato psyllid — was found in Western Australia. The pest detection led to restrictions on exports of the entire state’s potato crop to the east, resulting in an oversupply of potatoes in WA. It came after a tough year in 2016 for growers, with the closure of the Smith’s Snackfood Company crisp manufacturing plant in Canningvale and deregulation of the potato industry. The Potato Growers’ Association of WA is launching a new advertising campaign. The association’s executive officer, Simon Moltoni, said he hoped the campaign would encourage WA consumers to eat more local spuds, and ease the glut. More