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Potato panic: SA spuds get the green light for Tas

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Biosecurity Tasmania officials are meeting with potato growers today, after news broke fresh South Australian spuds will be allowed into the state.

Growers are worried at the news; Labor Braddon MP Shane Broad says local farmers will struggle to compete with mainland potato giant Mitolo.

"The massive scale of their operation would undercut local fresh-market potato growers, potentially putting them out of business," said Dr Broad in Thursday morning's parliamentary question time. 

"Furthermore, this decision also puts at risk the rest of the industry, including processors Simplot and McCain, due to the very real risk of disease." 

Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett says they had no choice, after South Australia declared its potatoes disease free.

"Consistent with normal practice, Biosecurity Tasmania has formally recognised that status," he told Parliament. 

"Tasmania is heavily dependent on its own certificates of freedom to conduct its export trade.

"I have written today to the major supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, encouraging them to support Tasmanian potato farmers wherever possible." 

Image: Couleur (Pixabay)