NFU Scotland surveys potato growers ahead of levy board changes
NFU Scotland is urging potato growers to complete its survey to identify what functions carried out by the industry’s statutory levy body – AHDB Potatoes – are most valued, ahead of body being wound down.
A ballot was held earlier this year, asking levy payers if they wanted AHDB Potatoes, part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), to continue or not.
The answer was a resounding ‘no’ and ministers will make decisions on the future of AHDB Potatoes in the next few months.
Since the result was announced, the industry has raised some concerns about the loss of some of the key functions that AHDB Potatoes carried out.
This survey is being conducted by NFU Scotland and the Scottish Society of Crop Research (SSCR) to identify which of these functions are most valued by the industry.
Results to inform discussions
The union stressed that the results of the survey will not be used to resurrect a different version of the AHDB.
This is to ensure that valued functions will continue to be carried out. It will also help start the process of identifying who should carry them out and how they should be funded.
The survey will close at noon on June 25.
Chair of NFU Scotland’s potatoes working group, Mike Wilson, said:
“Now that we have the result 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.
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.
“We have compiled a small survey along with SSCR for everyone involved in the potato industry to complete with their suggestions on what we should be researching.
“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.
“We encourage you to complete this to let us know what you want going forward into a very promising potato growing future.”