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South Koreans like their potatoes in many different forms (Courtesy: Yeinjee.com)
South Korea could help provide Australian potato growers with some relief from domestic cost pressures via a potentially lucrative growth market for exports.

According to an analysis of a recent industry discussion paper featured in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine, nearly 90 per cent of Australia’s vegetable exports to South Korea are potatoes.

“Much has been made of the potential that exists for the Australian vegetable industry to develop export markets as a means of addressing issues of rising production costs and domestic oversupply, and these opportunities extend to potato growers as well,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Dimi Kyriakou.

“With the Korean appetite for Australian potatoes already established, the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement has provided Australian potato growers with a potential means of boosting their presence in this significant market, thanks to tariff reductions on Australian potato imports into South Korea linked to the deal.”

“This is welcome news for Australian growers, who continue to face economic hardships in the face of increasing production costs and limited returns at the farm gate.”

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

According to the analysis of the Exporting Australia’s Vegetables to the Middle East and Asia paper, contained in Potatoes Australia magazine, markets in these two regions are potential key growth areas for local potato growers looking to export their produce.

“Asian nations to-date have been the biggest market for locally grown potatoes, comprising six out of the top seven countries importing the fresh Australian commodity,” said Ms Kyriakou.

“Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea were all highlighted as top importers of Australian potatoes, leaving open a great deal of opportunity for greater expansion into these countries and beyond.”

“While Australian growers have traditionally focused on domestic markets, it is becoming increasingly apparent that viable alternatives are continuing to emerge in the form of growing export markets, as local producers look to offset a number of challenges and limitations in the domestic business environment.”
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