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Scottish potato growers quizzed ahead of levy body AHDB wind down

Potato growers are asked to complete the survey before June 25.
Potato growers are asked to complete the survey before June 25.

Scottish potato growers are being asked to share their views on the industry’s levy body – the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – before it winds down its operations.

Farming union NFU Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Society of Crop Research (SSCR) have launched a survey asking growers to identify the most valued functions of AHDB.

It follows a ballot on the future of a statutory levy for the potato sector, collected by AHDB, where 66.4% of potato businesses voted to stop their levy.

A similar ballot was held for the horticulture sector, with 61% of horticulture growers voting to end their levy too, and AHDB plans to axe up to 140 jobs as it winds down its potato and horticulture operations.

Survey

NFUS said SSCR said the results from a survey of growers will not be used to resurrect a different version of AHDB, but instead inform discussions with government and industry about what happens after AHDB has wound down.

“Now that we have the results 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,” said NFUS potatoes working group chairman, Mike Wilson.

“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 authorisations and general marketing.”

He said the survey was designed for everyone involved in the potato industry to submit their suggestions on future research.

“There is also an opportunity to feed in any other suggestions that those interested in the well-being of the Scottish potato sector may have,” added Mr Wilson.

“We encourage you to complete this to let us know what you want going forward into a very promising potato growing future.”

The survey is available online at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AHDB_Potatoes_Functions and it closes for responses at noon on June 25.

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