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Don’t forget to ask for Safe Haven!

1 August 2011

Pests and diseases in growing ware crops could result in severe financial losses, warns AHDB Potatoes head of seed and export Mark Prentice.

The future of the supply chain is at risk from increasing threats from pests and bacteria, says Mark Prentice, head of seed and export, as he urges ware growers to back the Safe Haven scheme that offers protection from pests that can potentially devastate a crop.
 
 “These pests can cause up to 100 per cent loss of a crop, and the costs don’t stop there. Safe disposal and a thorough cleaning up also have to be paid for,” says Mark. “There is no insurance cover for this kind of loss, so it is vital the industry protects itself.”

The Safe Haven scheme was set up to create a secure supply chain by offering the best possible protection from disease as no seed with any bacterial disease are sold.

“Allowing diseases such as brown rot, ring rot and ‘Dickeya solani’ to take hold in this country would be catastrophic to both the seed and ware industries,” he emphasises.

Seed growers are only eligible to join the Safe Haven scheme if they have the highest hygiene standards and acceptance is dependent on strict, scientifically robust protocols being followed. Seed origin, hygiene, machinery, transport and storage are all reviewed prior to certification being awarded.

 “Ware growers can already source the commercial high-volume varieties such as Maris Piper and Maris Peer in addition to specialist ones,” he continues.

“As always, the customer is king. If a particular variety is not available under the scheme, the ware grower should ask for it to be included.”

Mark also reminds ware growers that the Seed Rate Guides for the varieties Saturna, Lady Rosetta, Maris Peer, Maris Piper and Hermes are available online for AHDB Potatoes levy payers looking at seed requirements and planting densities.

Guides for Marfona, Pentland Dell, King Edward and Russet Burbank are planned for publication in time for the 2011 season (see separate article in Grower Gateway on 'Have you used the variety seed rate guide').

Further information for ware growers who want to source Safe Haven seed is available from: potato.org.uk/safe-haven. Anyone wishing to source Safe Haven seed need only ask their usual supplier.

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