Securing jobs and investment in Tasmania's poppy industry Wed 1 August 2012 Bryan Green Deputy Premier A one-off approval to import raw poppy material will secure local manufacturing jobs and lead to further investment and employment in Tasmania's poppy industry. The Minister for Primary Industries Bryan Green said today the Government would support Cressy-based TPI Enterprises' application for a licence to source poppy straw pellets from overseas in 2013. "This approval ends uncertainty over the processor being able to meet significant contracts next year because of a shortfall in its reserves of raw material," Mr Green said. "It will help consolidate its manufacturing operation and also facilitate further investment in downstream processing." Mr Green welcomed the upgrading of TPI's processing facilities which would create 12 new jobs, increasing its workforce to over 70. "TPI's future expansion plans include a major investment in further alkaloid refinement and a proposed tablet manufacturing plant to supply global markets. Mr Green said the Government was focussed on working with Tasmania's poppy growers and its three processors, Tasmanian Alkaloids, Glaxo Smith Kline and TPI to expand the industry. "I want to assure poppy growers that this is strictly a once only licence for next year and that has been made abundantly clear to TPI." The imported material will be grown from Tasmanian non-GM seed and the licence will be subject to AQIS and State biosecurity approvals. Mr Green said unfavourable cropping conditions over the past two seasons prevented TPI accumulating enough reserves of raw material. "This decision is about helping the company through a short-term supply issue." "TPI will be seeking long-term contracts with growers to ensure it has the supplies it needs in the future. "The Government recognises there is scope to grow significantly more poppies in Tasmania which will lead to more value-adding manufacturing. "I look forward to the area of land available for production increasing well beyond the current 30,000 hectares." Mr Green said increased poppy production would be underpinned by the ongoing roll-out of major irrigation projects around the State. "Work is now underway on the biggest irrigation development in Tasmania's history in the Midlands which is just one area where enormous opportunities will open up for growers. "It is projects like this that are providing farmers with the reliable supply of water they need to irrigate high value crops like poppies." "Tasmania's iconic poppy industry has a farm-gate value of around $100 million and we supply about 45 per cent of the world's opiate-based pharmaceuticals. "We are working on a growth plan with farmers and processors to realise the great potential of our poppy industry," Mr Green said.