Simplot is conceding its growers will need government help if the company is to survive its financial troubles.

But the Federal Government has warned there is no 'bag full of money' yet for the struggling vegetable processor.

The company has warned the Devonport plant will close within five years unless finances improve, putting 300 jobs at risk.

It is under pressure because of the high Australian dollar, labour costs and the threat from cheaper imports of frozen goods.

The company has been in talks with growers in Tasmania's north and in New South Wales.

The parties met Federal Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon last night.

Managing Director Terry O'Brien has said previously that Simplot did not want a Government handout.

He has now told ABC Radio's Country Hour program the company's suppliers needs subsidising.

"It's a combination of grants and low interest loans," he said.

"Put it in the hands of Tasmanian and New South Wales growers, [to] make them more competitive. The flow-on from that is that makes Simplot more competitive."

He says Simplot is also trying to make its plants more efficient.

The minister is not promising any direct help for growers yet.

"I didn't come down here with a bag full of money. I came down here to seek an understanding of their challenges," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"They have challenges, they're determined, they are optimists. They believe they have a future."

But Mr O'Brien says the minister is interested in Simplot's proposals.

Chairman of the growers' group Andrew Craigie says several options are on the table.

"Any financial assistance off the government to an industry has virtually got to be a matched dollar for dollar, or it could be one dollar of government money for two dollars our producers' input into efficiency gains, precision agriculture, irrigation, whatever it may be," Mr Craigie said.

The ideas will now be presented to Simplot's 142 Tasmanian growers, who are mainly based in the state's north and north-west.


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