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AHDB Potatoes Next Generation group voices potato industry priorities

22 October 2015

“We need to ensure longer term viability from seed, growing and end market use,” concluded the AHDB Potatoes Next Generation group during a visit to IPL Westry, in Cambridgeshire recently.

This was the outcome of a business workshop facilitated by IPL’s Business Unit Director, Mark Taylor who manages ASDA’s entire GB potato needs from the Westry site.

The group of fifteen debated the future requirements needed for the potato supply chain to evolve.

“Our industry would benefit from greater emphasis on shared risk, increased trust and communication from seed to supermarket shelves,” requested the group. “We need to continue to keep the consumer needs front of mind, and satisfy all parties within the supply chain in terms of profitability.  And simultaneously utilise industry expertise and innovation effectively.”

George Putterill, one of the Next Generation delegates, is partner in his family farm in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire which grows potatoes, wheat, barley, peas and sugar beet.

“My family has always been involved in potato production for the chipping markets and I have always enjoyed the variety offered when working with the crop,” says George. “The AHDB Next Generation programme is proving a great opportunity to meet and learn about the parts of the potato industry that I am not directly involved with.

“The workshop session at IPL really got me thinking about changes to the industry that would benefit the whole potato supply-chain.”

Lee Sharp works for Maincrop Potatoes, growers and suppliers of fresh and processing crops, who have facilities in both Shropshire and Lincolnshire. “The Next Generation programme is a fantastic opportunity for professional development as well as an opportunity to express the voice of young people within this £4.1bn industry.”

The Next Generation group will be attending BP2015 (bp2015.co.uk) in Harrogate on the 12 and 13 November. It will be a great opportunity to meet this year’s high fliers - especially as the application process for the 2016-17 Next Generation Programme has just been launched. Interested applicants are asked to prepare a short video entry for consideration. Full details are now available online at potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/next-gen-application. Submissions will be accepted from the 12 November 2015 until the deadline of the 31 January 2016, with the successful fifteen applicants announced by the end of February 2016.  

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