July 2013

Dear growers, processors and all stakeholders in the potato industry value chain.  Welcome to the first e-newsletter.
First of all, best wishes for a productive start to the new Financial Year.


Potatoes South Australia Inc has indeed had a very productive start with the appointment of Brian Cunningham as Independent Chair on 10 July.

With over 20 years as a Chief Executive in both the private and public sectors, Brian brings significant high level management experience to the Potatoes South Australia Boardroom. His experience in business growth, investment opportunities, technologies and business, governance and structures and in budget setting, financial statements, and in audit and risk management will be significant assets for Potatoes South Australia.

His strategic input and guidance will direct the skills of the Board members to achieve the higher level goals of the rapidly growing organisation, supported by appropriate governance arrangements.  Brian is keen to meet with stakeholders in the industry’s value chain in order to accomplish this.


The composition of the Board of Management has also changed over the last six months.  The evolution of Potatoes South Australia has involved new complexities and challenges and the appointment of the latest Board Members reflects the requirement for a broad range of skills.
New to the Board are Mark Geraghty; General Manager Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Elders, and Jeff Jackson; CEO Moraitis Group.  Mark brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning and consumer research and Jeff brings over 30 years of international knowledge and experience in the fresh food sector, in addition to legal skills, to the Boardroom.  Both have considerable Board training and experience.
Other Board members are: Gary O’Neill; General Manager-Farms, The Mitolo Group, Ross Trimboli; GTS Farms, James Wandel; Kangaroo Island Irrigated Seed Producers Group, Paul White; General Manager, Zerella Fresh and Andrew Widdison, Chair South East Potato Growers Association.
This strengthening of the Board will ensure that our strategic direction remains on target in the delivery of relevant, timely, value-adding information and services to industry stakeholders in the nation’s largest horticultural sector. 


The website was launched earlier this month and will be the organisation’s key marketing tool and research information hub.  It will be constantly refined and updated to reflect the industry’s needs, and social media functions will be added as required.  The website belongs to the industry and must demonstrate that.
The construction of the ‘members only’ is now underway.  This will contain unique information including statistics, commissioned reports, financial and market summaries, corporate documents and critical contacts.  All media releases, current articles and industry reports are downloadable.  Recipes are available ‘In the Kitchen’.


The Funding Plan 2013’14 was endorsed by the Board in March 2013 and a levy contribution was accepted by the major stakeholders in the fresh, processing and seed sectors for payment from 1 July 2013. This is a major step forwards and indicates the high level of stakeholder support for the organisation.


All growers have received information via email and post concerning membership of Potatoes South Australia.  It’s now time to start thinking about the benefits of being a part of this progressive, inclusive ‘whole of value’ chain organisation.  Full membership (levy payers only) provides voting rights at the AGM and access to a ‘members only’ section for a ‘once-off’ fee.
Other stakeholders in the value chain will receive information this week concerning Associate membership.  A ‘once-off’ joining fee and an annual fee provides restricted access to the ‘members only’ section of website.
The website provides comprehensive information about membership with downloadable forms and on-line payment available.


Research into Generic Marketing Campaigns

The first stage research project concerning generic marketing campaigns in the food sector, funded by the South Australian Potato Industry Trust (SAPIT), is at the half-way mark.
The project will identify and analyse the success of marketing campaigns both nationally and internationally in the fresh produce category (pork, mushrooms, bananas and avocados) and competing categories including rice.

Potatoes South Australia, as project manager has contracted two Sydney-based marketing/media companies to undertake the study.  Collaboration with Western Potatoes Ltd and a better understanding of the marketing activities of the potato industry in USA and UK will also be key outcomes.

The results from this will provide the basis for the planning of a national strategy to increase demand for the potato, particularly in the fresh market.  Increasing demand at the consumer end of the value chain will result in increases at every link, right down to the seed grower.

We must reposition the potato as a trendy, desirable, nutritious, sophisticated food.

Development of an Industry-wide Workforce Development Plan

The South Australian Government’s Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST) has approved funding for Potatoes South Australia to develop a comprehensive whole-of-chain workforce development plan for the potato industry.  This project, managed by Potatoes South Australia will cover all sectors (seed, fresh and processing) and growing regions in South Australia, and will involve researching the current and future workforce needs of the South Australian potato industry.

The project will develop a robust industry sector workforce plan and action templates for the five key potato growing regions covering attraction, retention and skill development.

There will be wide industry consultation, research of company workforce development plans, development of individual case studies and the establishment of a program of customised training.  The skills gained by the workforce will enhance its capability to secure sufficient skilled personnel to their regionally based operations during a period of further industry growth.

It is envisaged that this training will be appropriate for other horticultural sectors with national roll-out potential. Potatoes South Australia will partner with registered training organisations (RTOs) to deliver this unique whole-of-chain program which will be industry-led.

The delivery of training is a ‘first’ for an Australian peak industry body.

Breaking News

The Federal Senate (Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References) Committee has this week informally advised Potatoes South Australia that the recommendations, following the Senate Inquiry in October 2012 into the importation of potatoes for processing from New Zealand, will now be delayed until 5 September. There could be further delays due to the Federal Election. 

DAFF Biosecurity Australia personnel have recently met with Chris Peace, author of the ‘Peace Report’, which provides independent specialised advice in relation to the Risk Estimation Matrix. This matrix is used by DAFF as a part of the Import Risk Analysis process to calculate the associated risks with fresh produce imports.

Again, this delay is welcomed, as over the years many industry stakeholder groups (fruit and vegetable growers) have raised concerns about the Risk Estimation Matrix.  The findings of the Senate Committee concerning the importation of fresh ginger from Fiji and fresh pineapple from Malaysia have also been delayed until 5 September.


Australian National PCN (ANPCN) Management Plan and Vic DPI’s Risk Based Regulatory Reform Model (RBRRM)

The Risk Based Regulatory Reform Model (RBRRM), developed by the Victorian Government (Department of Primary Industry) has now been endorsed by all Australian states except Western Australia.The South Australian industry endorsed the plan this week following clarification of its contents and wide grower consultation. This plan removes unnecessary regulatory burden and cost to industry in the management and future detection of PCN.

The Australian National PCN Plan was presented by AUSVEG to the Plant Health Committee on 19 and 20 June and outcomes will be advised as soon as they are available.


Potatoes South Australia was represented as a panellist in The Big Debate, “Strong Biosecurity–the costs and benefits for a vibrant fresh produce industry” in early June.  The other panellists were Tim Riley, President, Giumarra Companies, California, USA, Peter Silcock, CEO, Horticulture New Zealand, Joe Vizzarri, Vizzarri Farms Pty Ltd, Koo Wee Rup, Victoria, and Vanessa Findlay, Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

The debate focused on Australia’s reputation for fiercely defending its imports vs the benefits of this approach in terms of market access. The heated debate, principally across the Tasman, reinforced the critical issue that one country’s biosecurity is another’s market access.  We must continue to lobby for the rejection of this market access request from the New Zealand Ministry.


Marc Soccio, Senior Analyst Wine, Horticulture and Rural Economics, Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory at Rabobank provided two regional presentations to the potato industry recently; in Virginia and Mt Gambier.   Marc, accompanied by Frank Young, Branch Manager, Adelaide office and Alison Tierney, Marketing Manager SA, also spoke to the Potatoes South Australia Board and key stakeholders.

The topic was 'Who are you selling to? Keeping tabs on the eating and shopping habits of a changing Australian society'.

It examined consumer demand away from staples, including the potato, and the consumption of substitutes including other carbohydrates and vegetables. This is a trend also seen in the USA, UK and NZ.

The presentation dovetailed with our current research project concerning the success of generic marketing in the food sector.

Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) team is charged with analysing developments in food and agricultural markets and industries, and advising the bank and its clients on strategic implications for their businesses.

Click here to download the bio of Marc Soccio.

Please contact me at any time about your issues or about how we can do this better in terms of services offered.  Our competitive advantage will be our differentiation and our ability to remain in touch with and relevant to you all. If you have any ideas/suggestions please contact me. 

With an expanding stakeholder and membership base, Potatoes South Australia continues to integrate the whole potato industry for its future sustainability.

Robbie Davis,
CEO Potatoes South Australia Inc

Copyright 2013 Potatoes South Australia Inc   |  All rights reserved. |  | Disclaimer


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Level 2 27 Currie Street
Adelaide South Australia

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