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TAS Country : March 8th 2012
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 9, 2012 News Poppy industry set to expand KAROLIN MacGREGOR DEMAND: Tasmania is the major supplier of poppies TASMANIA'S poppy in- dustry could be on the brink of a major expansion as demand for alkaloid- based drugs across the globe continues to grow. Poppy Growers Tas- mania (PGT) says that early indications were pointing to a major growth in crop area this year to between 30,000ha and 35,000ha. PGT president Glynn Williams said it was an exciting time for the indus- try. ''The indication we have about the increasing de- mand for product is that we could be looking at a substantial increase in crop area for the upcoming season,'' he said. Mr Williams and PGT chief executive Keith Rice both flew out to Vienna yesterday to attend meet- ings with the United Na- tions commission on nar- cotic drugs. Mr Williams said they would also use the trip as an opportunity to meet with drug company rep- resentatives to gain a bet- ter understanding of the current demand and mar- ket opportunities. Poppy growers across the state this year planted about 25,000ha of crop. Mr Williams said PGT was confident that the state's poppy growers would be able to supply the amount of product needed, if prices were right. ''If the poppy companies are prepared to offer the right price, farmers will meet that demand,'' he said. ''State Government studies have shown that we have enough available land to grow a lot more poppies than we currently do sustainably, but the price has to be right for farmers to do that.'' Negotiations with poppy companies over prices for the coming growing season will get under way over the next couple of months. Mr Williams said while the value of the Australian dollar had been raised as an issue by the state's processors in recent years, the end value of the prod- uct far outweighed what farmers received. ''When you think that in 2010 in the US alone, the value of the thebaine prod- uct at final dosage levels was about $10 billion, and most of that product came from Tasmania, the impact of the dollar is not that great,'' he said. ''That's something the people in the middle have to look at.'' Mr Williams said overall the future of the poppy industry looked bright. ''It's all very positive at the moment,'' he said. ''The demand is there both in new emerging mar- kets and in established markets and we're the world's major supplier, so that's a good position to be in.'' Fertiliser king who made a great impact THE rural sector is mourn- ing the death of primary industry entrepreneur Ray Bender. Mr Bender, an inspi- rational businessman, founded Impact Fertilisers. The Bender fam- ily spread the first tonne of bulk ferti- liser from the EZ Fertiliser Plant (now Impact's Derwent Park Plant) in southern Tas- mania in September 1950. For the next 50 years Benders spread more than a million tonnes of ferti- liser from the plant. Alth- ough the spreading busi- ness was sold in 1987, the family did not stand by and let the Derwent Park Plant be sold by Zinifex (then Pasminco) and potentially close down when it was placed on the market in 1994. Mr Bender created Impact Fertilisers, as- sembled a new manage- ment team, and expanded and reinvigorated their workforce.
February 23rd 2012
March 15th 2012