WA seed potato industry study tour to Holland and Scotland, September 2007 (PT06045)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Production of seed potato in the Netherlands was a mature, professional and highly successful industry. There was an opportunity to develop the Western Australian potato industry by understanding and adopting some of the key strengths of the Dutch potato industry. Factors which helped form the Dutch potato industry as a world leader in seed potato exports were:
- Vertical integration of the supply chain achieved through large companies which coordinated breeding, production, marketing and exporting of seed potato.
- Excellent storage and ventilation systems which provided flexibility for trading.
- Development of varieties which were suitable for a range of climatic conditions and could be marketed and produced around the world.
- Strong global networks and product marketing.
- Exporting of seed by large corporations rather than individual growers which gave strength in procurement, trading and managing supply issues.
- Quality assurance protocols such as sampling of harvested crops for skin defects and diseases and the use of ‘hot boxes’ to ensure consistency of seed quality.
Examination of the Dutch potato industry also indicated some weaknesses which presented opportunities for the WA industry. The Netherlands was facing increasing constraints to production due to environmental, land and disease pressures. To compensate for this the Dutch were outsourcing production of seed to other countries. It would be beneficial to the WA industry to collaborate with Dutch companies to produce seed in WA which could be exported to South East Asia. To facilitate this process it was recommended that:
- A business plan (or revision of existing plans) was developed for the WA seed potato industry so that investors/collaborators could clearly identify opportunities for development.
- A 2 – 3 page brochure was developed on the WA seed potato industry which could be distributed during networking opportunities.
Review of the certification scheme in the Netherlands and the UK indicates that the majority of seed exported by WA was of an earlier generation and therefore likely to have a better health status and so produce higher crop yields. This competitive advantage needed to be better marketed so that clients of Western Australian seed understood how Australian seed compared to that produced by other countries.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Plant Royalty Trust Fund - DAFWA, Southern Packers, Western Potatoes Ltd & Dom Della-Verdova.
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