Potato Growers Asked What Parts of AHDB’s Work Should Continue
Potato growers are being asked to reveal what they liked about AHDB Potatoes – ahead of it being wound down. Earlier this year, levy payers voted on whether they wanted the levy-funded potatoes research and marketing body to continue or not, and the answer was a resounding ‘no’. As a result, UK Ministers are expected to make decisions on the future of AHDB Potatoes within the next few months, and the continuation of that levy seems very unlikely.
But since the result was announced, concerns have been raised about the loss of some of the key functions that AHDB Potatoes carried out. In response, the National Farmers Union Scotland and the Scottish Society of Crop Research have launched a survey to identify what growers thought the AHDB was doing right.
NFUS stressed that the results of the survey would not be used to ‘resurrect’ a different version of the AHDB, but would inform discussions with government and industry about what happens after AHDB has wound down, to ensure that valued functions will continue to be carried out, and start the process of identifying who should carry them out and how they should be funded.
Chair of the NFUS Potatoes Working Group, Mike Wilson, said: “Now that we have the result of the ballot and growers have voted ‘no’, we need to look forward to the future to protect, maintain and improve our brilliant potato industry without the AHDB having a role in that. There are a few key issues that our industry requires in an ever-challenging, growing environment for both seed and ware potatoes, primarily information on plant and soil health, chemical authorizations and general marketing,” said Wilson.