A group of seed potato growers, the Seed Potato Organisation (SPO), is looking for feedback from farmers at the annual Potatoes in Practice event

The SPO is being set up by a group of growers, with technical back-up, to support and develop the seed potato sector.

Explaining the decision, Jonnie Martin, a grower from the Black Isle said:

“The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board [AHDB] model was rejected by growers; having identified its failings, we now need to create an organisation specifically run by growers to benefit growers.”

The group behind SPO have been listening to growers’ views on what SPO should be, and what it should do this summer.

Recent meetings in the north and south of Scotland, and responses to its survey have reaffirmed the group’s commitment to setting up a body that represents seed potato growers.

The SPO said that the feedback so far is that a body is needed to provide seed potato representation to governments, support market development, and fund research services.

Aberdeenshire grower Colin Massie, who sits on the SPO steering committee said:

“If seed growers don’t pull together to advance their own interests, then who else will?”

The committee has also gathered views on fees and are using this information to draft a budget and programme to meet growers’ priorities.

Membership of SPO will not just be for British seed growers. Potato supply chain organisations can also support the seed potato sector by becoming associate members, and ware growers are welcome to get involved.

At Potatoes in Practice on August 11, the SPO steering committee will listen to the wider industry and meet any seed potato growers who have yet to share their views on the proposed organisation.

Members of the SPO will be in the seminar tent at Potatoes in Practice at 10.00a.m.

They will also have a stand at the event and are keen to chat to as many people as possible.