[ASC-media] Media release - embargoed to 8.15AM Wednesday 21st September: Aussie chips set to best the rest with new $14m R&D program

Diana Wolfe (03) 9372 5305 diana at wolfewords.com
Fri Sep 16 07:44:21 EST 2005

Media release - embargoed to 8.15AM Wednesday 21st September

Aussie chips set to best the rest with new $14m R&D program

A new $14 million R&D program to lift the global 
competitiveness of Australia's processing 
potatoes was launched today by Victorian 
Agriculture Minister, Bob Cameron at the 
industry's national conference, Potato 2005, 
being held at Phillip Island.

The five-year program is a boost to the 
Australian processing potato industry, given 
recent uncertainty and strong international 
competition for our local markets, as evidenced 
by the recent Tasmanian-led grower tractor rally 
to Canberra.

Victorian potato growers can expect to benefit 
from the research that will lead to controls for 
diseases such as common scab, powdery scab, 
rhizoctonia and tomato spotted wilt virus.

These diseases represent the most significant 
production challenge to the industry in terms of 
damage and losses. Better management of diseases 
will lift processing yields and reduce costly 
wastage to improve industry competitiveness in 
the global market.

According to Processing Potatoes Association of 
Australia President Paul Frost, the program is 
the most strategic and ambitious the Australian 
processing potato industry has ever embarked on.

It will produce:
o	DNA probe tests to better measure soil 
borne disease, to enable better control
o	Manipulation of the soil to reduce common 
scab, powdery scab and rhizoctonia
o	Specific crop sequences to reduce the amount of disease
o	Better screening for diseases in promising new varieties
o	Strong industry involvement to help growers adopt new strategies.

"It is also a first for Australia, where a large 
team has been formed to focus tightly on these 
main disease issues to greatly improve the 
likelihood of success," Paul said. "The R&D team 
includes Australian, New Zealand and Canadian 
experts in disease control. In that sense, our 
industry is tapping into some of the best minds 
in the world in a very cost-effective way."

The program is jointly funded by the Australian 
Government through Horticulture Australia Ltd. 
and Australian potato growers and processors, 
with major contributions from the Tasmanian 
Institute of Agricultural Research, South 
Australian Research and Development Institute, 
Victorian Department of Primary Industries, New 
Zealand Crop and Food Research Institute and 
Agriculture & Agrifood Canada.


Media are welcome to attend the conference. 
Speakers are available for interview and media 
releases will be issued as the conference 
progresses. For interview arrangements and other 
media inquiries please contact Cathy Sage Ph: 
0400 714 603; Email: cathy at sagewords.com.au  
To access media releases and hi-res photos, go to: www.arris.com.au/~potato2005

Wolfe Words
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PO Box 1117
Kensington   Victoria   3031

Phone & fax: (03) 9372 5305
Mobile: 0419 547 270
Email: diana at wolfewords.com


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