Australian Growers To Supply Grocer Coles Meyer

Published online: Oct 14, 2005
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A group of Queensland potato growers signed a contract with Australian supermarket giant Coles Myer to supply their crop direct.

The Atherton Potato Growers' Cooperative said 10 growers will supply produce to the chain for its stores along Australia's eastern seaboard.

This year the minimum order is for 2,000 tonnes of mainly Tobago variety brushed potatoes but if the venture succeeds the volume could grow to some 10,000 tonnes.

The growers will be paid about A$500 a tonne, a much better proposition last year when the growers dealt with middlemen and received prices as low as A$10 a tonne.

Coles Myer executives traveled to north Queensland and made the deal at the invitation of Senator Ron Boswell. But growers in the state of Victoria said it was unlikely they would deal direct with supermarket chains.

Victoria is the main supplier of brushed potatoes after the Queensland season ends.

Growers said the wholesale market still provided the best options for them.

"The system that has evolved over the years, by all means it's not perfect, but it is a system that has evolved and every year we're trying to fine tune it to maximize returns for the growers," a grower said. "There are certain agents that we use in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and they try and maximize our returns as much as they can."