APC Potato Producers’ CommitteeupdateCHAIRPERSON: GLEN RYAN EXECUTIVE OFFICER: SIMON MOLTONIThe main areas of investment during the 2021–22 year have been marketing, the certified seed scheme, investigation of molecular testing for potato viruses and the Potato Growers Association.Potato Growers Association (PGA)

The annual grant funding contract with the PGA (trading as WA Potatoes) provides services to APC FFS paying potato producers.

This includes providing internal and external communications, capacity building of staff, developing and project managing industrydriven projects, advocacy, and stakeholder management.

· Seed for Schools — this year we posted out 780 educational packs to over 400 schools across many regions of Western Australia, where over 20,000 children gained information about the humble spud. This program gives children the opportunity to see where their food comes from, by planting seed potatoes and following its growing season of approximately 18 weeks. They learn how potatoes grow, the different varieties, the many health benefits and that potatoes are a sustainable crop and good for the planet.

· Perth Royal Show — last year our team worked with RASWA to develop a display in the Farm 2 Food pavilion. We had giveaways including the magazine, the potato dig, and a competition for people to win a $100 Coles voucher each day, which achieved over 750 entries (and new additions to our database).

· Communications — the PGA communicates with industry regularly via a range of channels including e-news, regional meetings, Zoom meetings, in-person meetings, phone calls, quarterly WA Grower magazine articles and editorial, and biannual Potatoes Australia magazine.

Social media performed well last year across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.Marketing and promotion

Social media performed well last year across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. In particular the WA Potatoes Twitter and LinkedIn accounts have been growing steadily with good interaction with relevant business and media contacts through those platforms. Facebook and Instagram continue to reach grocery buyers across WA through a range of posts and recipes, and through driving traffic to the website.

We completed a program of Nova radio advertising, which sounded good and was lots of fun. Nova was selected due to its ongoing high ratings that are strong in the grocery buying segments.

Two WA Potatoes magazines were published and distributed featuring new recipes, facts and tips about potatoes and grower profiles. Advertising space was also sold to relevant industry partners to offset costs.

Seed Potato Scheme

This scheme ensures the basis for potato production is sound and that seed potatoes with a disease-free status that are sought after throughout Australia and overseas are produced.

The administration of the seed scheme is delivered by DPIRD. It’s fully funded by industry through direct fees from growers and FFS from Industry. The APC-PPC FFS funding supports the cost of administering the seed scheme, virus testing of all certified G2 seed and testing for Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid disease.

Committee Members
Database improvements DPIRD

This project aims to modernise the existing outdated Seed Testing and Certification (STAC) database that is used to administer the WA seed potato schemes. Through this modernisation, the project aims to realise opportunities to digitise some of the paper-based processes for data collection currently in the workflows.

Investigation of molecular testing DPIRD

This project aims to show that testing for potato viruses can be done at higher throughput and a lower price point using molecular methods compared with the traditional serological (ELISA) methods (currently accepted industry standard).

Field Survey of Predators of TPP in WAMurdoch University

The project is looking at identifying potential candidates of TPP predators for developing a strategy and molecular analysis to assess their predation capacity. It’s a 2-year project managed by Murdoch University. Read more about this on page 57.

WA Potato Biosecurity Plan

A draft of the biosecurity plan was initiated following meetings with DPIRD and AUSVEG staff to gather relevant information.

SURVEY of TPP predators species which includes lacewings. University 2-year project identifying potential candidates of TPP predators. MurdochProjects approved 2022–23

PGA Association: $336,500
· DPIRD: Seed Certification Scheme & Virus Testing $96,000
· DPIRD: Investigation of molecular testing for potato viruses $40,000 (2-year project 2021–23)
· Murdoch University: Field survey of predators of TPP in WA $7,500 (2-year project 2021–23)

FFS for ware, export and processing has remained as is for 2022–23 with a review in these areas for 2023–24. Seed fee for service increase has been approved by the Minister, effective

Marketing project for the next 12-month period (October to October) will be reviewed next month.

Charges for 2022–23

· Processing potatoes — Local and export $6/t
· Seed potatoes — Local and export $175/ha (2023–24 $200 ha)
· Ware (fresh) — Local $8/t
· Ware (fresh) — Export $6/t
· Ware (fresh) — Marketing $2.50/t

For further information please contact Glen Ryan 0428 827 126 Chair APC-PPC or Simon Moltoni 0447 141 752 Executive Officer APC-PPC.