Potatoes © Tim Scrivener

Potato growers have one week left to give their views on Potato Council’s draft business strategy, including a levy increase for 2015-16.

The Potato Council proposed a sub-inflation increase in the levy of 1.96% for 2015-16, which represents £0.84/ha for growers and £0.0036/t for purchasers.

See also: GM potatoes gather pace in USA

Potato Council chairman Fiona Fell says as a result of changing consumer purchasing patterns coupled with an on-going oversupply at home and in Europe, the potato industry is dealing with tremendous volatility and a severe downward price pressure.

She explains the Potato Council team is listening to levy payers, analysing market dynamics and looking for ways to support potato producers in this tough and evolving market.

“We have looked critically at costs, and have managed to keep the increase below inflation whilst providing the necessary funds to continue to provide the unique activities and quality services that our levy payers have fed back that they value,” she explains.

The new plan will take Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Centre forward, and funds will be committed to unlock external funding opportunities to refurbish and develop the storage research and knowledge transfer capability.

There will be a push to fight back against European competition and help find where opportunities lie for UK growers.

The plan will also deliver new formats and relevant tools for agronomists and advisors to ensure that new information and best practice gets to growers rapidly.

 The draft plan is available for levy payers to review and feedback their views on whether the plan addresses industry priorities at www.potato.org.uk/corporate/.