The West

Manjimup truffle growers fear undercutting
Manjimup truffle growers fear undercutting

Cheap Tasmanian truffles are causing concern to Manjimup truffle growers, who say the Apple Island’s lower prices are putting pressure on the WA industry.

Wine and Truffle Company chief executive officer Sake van Weeghel said the low prices of Tasmanian truffles were a threat to Manjimup and could even damage the future of the Australian truffle industry.

The Australian Truffle Growers Association put last year’s average truffle price at $1100 per kg — well below the $1700 per kg price typically commanded by Manjimup truffles.

‘‘It’s a problem. We’re try to introduce a general asking price across the industry, but Tasmanian truffle growers are deliberately undercutting us to try to gain market share,’’ Mr van Weeghel said.

‘‘It’s unsustainable and a serious threat to the Australian truffle industry and it will get worse as Tasmania produces more and more truffles and the domestic prices goes down even further.’’

Mr van Weeghel said the solution was to educate existing markets to the existence and quality ofWAtruffles and in particular Manjimup truffles.

‘‘When growers start cooperating rather than competing we can develop a sustainable industry,’’ he said.

Australian Truffle Growers Association president Graham Duell said some growers published prices and others did not, so it was difficult to gain an accurate understanding of truffle prices.

‘‘The published prices of Tasmanian truffle in this season that I am aware of are in the range realised last year, so I am not sure how you can claim undercutting is occurring,’’ Mr Duell said.

Manjimup was the real powerhouse of Australian truffle production and produced in excess of 75 per cent of the national yield, Mr Duell added.

On that basis Manjimup growers had a strong and real market presence, he said.

Tante Maggie owner David Pottinger Jnr said he was aware Tasmanian truffles were undercutting Manjimup’s but was not yet overly concerned as Tasmania had a shorter season and did not produce truffles of as high a quality.

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