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Fruitful new line for spud man
Perth vegetable grower Tony Galati in Kununurra. Picture: Alicia Bridges

Mango lovers could be in for a surge in WA-grown fruit at lower prices after the sale of what is believed to be the State's largest mango plantation.

Outspoken South West potato grower Tony Galati yesterday confirmed he was the new owner of the 120,000-tree Rewards Group plantation in Kununurra.

The plantation has been in administration since the collapse of the managed investment scheme, Rewards, in 2010.

Mr Galati said increasing production by exporting more mangoes overseas could make them cheaper for consumers.

But he said he was concerned over the disease risk posed by Northern Territory mango imports, and would lobby to quash the imports.

"I cannot believe Darwin mangoes are being sold in WA," he said.

"We have huge export potential, but that could be ruined if disease comes in."

The Kununurra farm is already packing mangoes for export to the Middle East and China.

Mr Galati said overseas markets for Kimberley mangoes would be threatened if the seed weevil disease was present in the Ord Valley.

"It's a huge concern not just to myself but to every grower in Kununurra, Carnarvon and Perth," Mr Galati said. "I'm not arguing from a commercial (perspective) but the biggest concern is, if they come in and we get contaminated by seed weevil it destroys our ability to export overseas."

Mr Galati said he hoped to eventually ramp up production to more than 500,000 trays.

WA now produces between 250,000 and 400,000 trays.

But the purchase has alarmed some mango growers who are concerned the market could be flooded.

Ord River Mango Growers Association spokesman Chris Robinson said the Rewards Plantation had never reached its full potential.

Mr Robinson said Mr Galati was aware of the need for proper marketing and export of mangoes, to avoid over burdening the market.

"He is aware of the need for an adequate marketing strategy," he said. "The margins for growers are very small, we are being paid the same as what we were getting 20 years ago. I'd prefer that the 120,000 trees had been removed."