McCain, Simplot `Under Attack'

Published online: Aug 02, 2001
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Tasmanian potato growers surrounded a McCain Foods processing plant with 400 tractors and trucks to protest low prices for their crop.

Protest organizer Richard Bovill, said McCain and Simplot had two weeks' notice to grant a $30-per-ton increase in payments to farmers or "the next action will be to close down all the processing plants in Tasmania, and seek the support of people on the mainland to do it there."

Tasmanian growers produce about two-thirds of Australia's chip potatoes. They have not had a pay increase for a decade. Simplot has offered A$20 a ton and McCain a A$15 rise.

Victorian potato growers who supply a McCain Foods plant at Ballarat, said they would rally behind the Tasmanians.

The McCain Ballarat growers support all the Tasmanian processor growers, both Simplot and McCain, in any action they take.