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Tattie leaders consult on possible GB Potatoes body

A paper on a GB Potatoes organisation is being circulated to stakeholders.
A paper on a GB Potatoes organisation is being circulated to stakeholders.

A group of leading tattie industry stakeholders has drawn up tentative proposals for a new representative body, provisionally called GB Potatoes.

The ten respected professionals,  including Agrico UK executive director Archie Gibson and  Perthshire producer Euan Grewar as well as others across the UK,  insist a new inclusive organisation is necessary to represent the industry, commission future research and bring together all elements of the supply chain in the wake of the vote to reject the statutory AHDB levy.

Archie Gibson is executive director of Agrico.

They have distanced themselves from the Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG), and say their approach is to  bring all sectors together via voluntary subscription and membership.

A paper on provisional ideas for a GB Potatoes organisation is currently being circulated to  stakeholders  in an attempt to define how the industry should go forward, how any representative body would operate and what it would do.

The grain harvest and  imminent potato lifting season have occupied most growers minds since the results of the ballot, but Archie Gibson says the industry can’t afford to “look into a void”.

“The industry is a bit bruised and battered and there are mixed feelings about what should come next, but there’s no time to waste when we consider the need ensure the future of blight and aphid monitoring and future research priorities,” he said.

“We are consulting widely and trying to feel our way gently with seed and ware growers, processors, packers, merchants, grower groups, the farmers’ unions, independent advisers, research organisations and breeders.”

The 2021 potato harvest has started.

The paper states a “less bureaucratic, more inclusive, and more appropriately funded successor” to the AHDB  is required, and calls for support and feedback to shape next steps.

The principles identified by the group include:  promoting industry interests and protecting its reputation; collaborating to support pre-competitive work; bringing the GB potato industry together; being affordable and accountable and delivering value back into the supply chain; and representing the sector to governments, DEFRA and regulatory authorities.

It states: “We are not re-inventing the AHDB but believe there is mutual interest in fundamental research and protecting our industry. GB potatoes needs to continue to improve its performance and remain competitive.”

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