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Western Australia potato growers win 25-year battle with
By Alex Hyman
After a battle lasting almost 25 years WA's $45 million
potato industry was yesterday declared free of the devastating
potato cyst nematode.
In 1986 Potato Cyst Nematode was detected on six properties
out of Perth, putting a block on the export of WA potatoes
to lucrative Asian markets.
Now, in what's believed to be a world first, Western Australia
has eliminated the pest and has been reinstated as a potato
cyst nematode free area.
This area freedom recognition is hoped to give the WA potato
industry a marketing boost and open up previously inaccessible
It's expected to give the potato seed export industry a
boost with projections that trade could more than triple
in years ahead
Agriculture Minister Terry Redman says the announcement
opens up big opportunities for the WA potato industry.
"We have got area freedom from potato cyst nematode
in Western Australia."
"That means that some markets that would not have
otherwise taken our potatoes from Western Australia on the
basis of not being are free from PCN, will now be able to
take our product."
"It is significant for Western Australia, for the
international markets and market access to that."
Shashi Sharma is the Director of Plant Biosecurity with
the Department for Agriculture.
He says that sound science was the basis for proving that
WA was free from potato cyst nematode.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there are some other countries
in the world who would like to follow the methodology and
who would like the systems that we have implemented here
and so it provides us with that scientific edge as well."
"We always talk about our very robust science that
underpins our biosecurity policy and operations and this
is one of the examples."
"We believe that our biosecurity policies and operations
and regulations are based on very robust science. It's a
requirement that our policies and regulations have to be
science based and they can be challenged anytime and we
have to prove that what we have done is right."
Darrell Smith is a potato farmer from Busselton and the
President of the WA potato growers association.
He says the area freedom status will open up new markets
and reduce costs for potato farmers.
In this report: Minister for Agriculture Terry Redman
Shashi Sharma, Director of Plant Biosecurity with the Department
Darrell Smith, potato farmer and the President of the WA
Potato Growers Association
The Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals, are attempting
to create a large network of Agri-business Professionals
in India and other SAARC countries with a view to enhancing
the rural incomes in India by enabling access to appropriate
agricultural technologies and market intelligence to the
masses living in the hinterlands of India. Given the size
and spread of the Indian agricultural sector, the country
needs around 50,000 Agribusiness Clinics. This Project aims
at establishing the basic mechanism that would facilitate
establishing such Agri-clinics by motivated agricultural
graduates on self-sustainable basis. This Project will establish
the knowledge network, will identify the agri-graduate interested
in starting Agri-Clinics, will train them and will provide
the information products and services to their agri-clinics
on an ongoing basis. Thus the concept of Agribusiness clinics
becomes scalable and could expand till it reaches every
major village in the country. The population of experts
is estimated to be of the order of 5,000 and the target
is to have at least 25% on the panel within 2 years. The
professionals can be unemployed graduates, progressive farmers,
manufacturers, service providers, buyers and customers of
agricultural products and services.
Contact: Gokul Patnaik, Chairman ISAP, E12, Greater Kailash
I, IIIrd Floor, New Delhi-110 048, India; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;