AU: $600,000/tonne paid for New Season Baby Potatoes

It was a double celebration at the Annual Potato Industry Dinner at the National Wine Centre of Australia on Friday night.

The auction of new season baby potatoes resulted in a final bid of a very impressive $9,000. This was for 15 kgs so that means these very special potatoes actually sold for $600,000 per tonne! This surpassed last year’s bid of $8,500 by Mr Jamie Roberts, General Manager, Thomas Foods International Fresh Produce which really set the benchmark for 2014!

Mr Tony Wetherall, Stud Stock Manager, Elders Rural Services, a strategic partner, worked a room of more than 125 key industry stakeholders to produce this outstanding result.

The successful bidder, Mr Paul Capobianco, Tony & Mark’s Direct, Suppliers of Fresh Produce and Fine Food, was later crowned ‘The 2014 King of Potatoes’ by the Hon David Ridgway MLC, Shadow Minster for Agriculture, Primary Industry, Food & Wine. The auctioned potatoes were kindly donated by SAPotatoCo.

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Little Heroes Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting children living with cancer and serious illness, and their families.

Little Heroes Foundation Chairman Chris McDermott, said “It’s been an absolute pleasure to once again partner with Potatoes South Australia to launch its new season and be the beneficiary of the Auction; $9,000 for a box of potatoes is a credit to this industry and the great people that have united to oversee its growth. The money will go immediately to assist sick children in our state and their families with the struggles they face.”

Robbie Davis, CEO of Potatoes South Australia Incorporated, the peak industry body, said “It was wonderful to see such united, collaborative support for the most significant sector of horticulture at both a state and national level, and for our Charity, the Little Heroes Foundation. It is clear that our representation covers the value chain with a retailer bidding so generously.”

Guest speaker was the Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith, MP, South Australian Minister for Investment and Trade, who announced that Potatoes South Australia would receive $35,000 through the Department of State Development in addition to $10,000 committed by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia and $15,000 through the South Australian Potato Industry Trust.

The South Australian Government is partnering with Potatoes South Australia to gain export access and expand the state’s seed and fresh potato industry within the growing South East Asian markets of Thailand and Malaysia.

“These growth markets were identified in a Federal Department of Agriculture report entitled ‘Export Strategy for Australian Potatoes 2014-2019’. The program’s goals will align the ASEAN region’s demand for quality produce with the supply of potatoes, the world’s fourth largest traded commodity,” said the Minister.

The Dinner, coordinated by Executive Chef, Philip Pope, demonstrated just how sophisticated potatoes can be and how much potential there is to showcase their versatility, health benefits and their flavour,” Ms Davis added.

The Auction for the Little Heroes Foundation is held annually in Spring and it is evolving into an increasingly larger event.

Potatoes South Australia is delighted to be associated with such a worthwhile cause.

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