Potato growers are concerned New Zealand potatoes coming into Australia for processing could jeopardise the local industry.
The Federal Government has recommended New Zealand spuds be let in for the first time in 30 years.
But South Australian potato grower Terry Buckley says it could bring in zebra chip bacteria, which turns potatoes black when cooked, and several other diseases which Australia doesn’t have.
“Zebra chip’s spread around by what they call a psyllid, which is a little flying insect, and you’ve just got to be after them all the time, so it’s pesticide spray after pesticide spray,” he said.
“And in a era when the consumer seems to be indicating to me that they want less and less sprays, the last thing we need is something like that.”
But Australia’s first secretary of plant biosecurity Colin Grant says grower concerns are unfounded, because the risk of zebra chip spreading to Australia is minimal.
“The liklihood of the fly ever getting here or the insect is extremely low. We operate on a system of very, very low risk, but it’s not zero, but the likelihood is so low that it’s close to zero.”
The Federal Labor Party is continuing its assault against Australian farmers by allowing yet another fresh food import.
Three months ago it was pineapples, before that apples, now it is potatoes from New Zealand and our spud growers are not happy and nor should they be. The two party duopoly, the LNP and ALP, is tied to free trade and nevermind the consequences for our struggling farmers and this country’s food sovereignty.
Combined with the deadly Coles/Woolworths wrecking ball, free trade has all but wiped out Atherton Tablelands farmers. Once famous for its spectacular spuds, the Tablelands languishes in its ability to produce some of the best fruit and vegetables in the world. Due mainly to the 85 per cent supermarket duopoly, Tablelands’ growers have been forced to the wall.
Late last year an Atherton potato grower, contracted to Coles, finished digging a beautiful srop of spuds, only to be told by Coles they were not wanted.
“But what about my contract?” the desperate grower asked Coles.
“Sorry, contracts are only good when they suit us,” was the reply. – from ABC and regional reports.