Commercial Taro Chip Development using Agri-chain Partnerships

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This report is a detailed analysis of the processing, marketing and economic potential of producing a salty snack made from taro Colocasia esculenta. The objectives of this study were to determine the feasibility of establishing a taro chip processing industry in North Queensland.

Taro is mostly consumed in Australia as a fresh product. Selling occurs through major central markets as well as smaller regional outlets. Fresh taro fluctuates in supply and price and in some instances may be sold below the cost of production.

A group of growers with many years of industry experience in producing taro decided to investigate a taro chip manufacturing plant to enable taro growers to achieve more stable incomes by providing an alternative outlet for their crop and to create jobs in a region that suffers from high unemployment.

The growers saw the chips as having a very attractive appearance and a distinctive natural taste, texture and colour, and that these characteristics would enable the development of a product with strong market appeal. Taro chips have not been produced in commercial quantities in Australia at present and currently are mainly home-cooked for family and friends.

Vic O’Keefe
Greg Mason
Alison Willis
Gwen Bell
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australia