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Sustaining demand for GB potatoes

2 August 2011

AHDB Potatoes is working hard to sustain demand for British potatoes both at home and abroad, revealed chairman Allan Stevenson to 650 growers and processors at Potatoes in Practice (PiP) held at SCRI’s Balruddery Farm near Dundee on 12 August, 2010.

Allan noted that, in general, sales of potatoes had held up well during the recession, except for organic and loose potatoes “We are reaching out to our target audience of young consumers in particular and encouraging them to adopt more potato meals,” he said.

 He went on to stress that the increasingly global nature of the potato market required the AHDB Potatoes to play a positive role in supporting the industry in its bid to increase exports of seed potatoes, with recent missions to countries like China, which has tremendous potential as the world’s largest potato producer.

 Allan said he was very proud that Edinburgh had been chosen to host the next World Potato Congress, in 2012, giving Britain the opportunity to showcase its achievements to international delegates.

The Dundee event also focused on important subjects today’s growers have to address, including biosecurity, diagnostics and environmental stewardship. Gerry Saddler from Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) spoke about the importance of balancing cost with risk where potential diseases are concerned. He advised his audience that the best option was to buy seed potatoes from growers in the Safe Haven scheme, set up to ensure freedom from the notifiable disease ring rot.

Dr Gerry Saddler from SASA

In addition, AHDB Potatoes, SCRI, SAC, SASA and CSC experts were on hand to explain their latest research and products at the event and heavy showers did not deter visitors from viewing field trials, including herbicide trials, seed treatment and foliar nutrition.

Dr Ruaridh Bain of SAC with Gary Collins from AHDB Potatoes

“The real value of PiP is the practical focus of the research, and that’s what draws such a broad range of growers and industry representatives,” said AHDB Potatoes director Rob Clayton. “There are challenges and potential benefits from the changes going on in our industry and growers at events such as this are able to speak directly with the experts in different fields, helping them solve the issues that confront them.”

Dr Stuart Wale with a group of delegates at Potatoes in Practice

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