Dennis Heywood, acting chairman of the Potato Council, is keen to stress to levy-payers that the services they value will continue.
“The BPC has done a good job, so Potato Council staff will carry on working with levy payers to retain the same high calibre of research, marketing and other activities,” he said.
The business plan for the next twelve months is already being delivered, Mr Heywood added. “Levy collection will be unchanged – all funds collected from the potato industry are ring-fenced and will be spent within the potato sector.”
The first priority for the new sector company will be to find out from levy-payers how the new levy body structure can deliver even better value for money from funds collected and future priorities for the potato industry.
A new 14-strong board comes in to replace the BPC council, although five BPC board members retain their position. The new board will spend the next three months seeking out constructive views from as many levy-payers as possible.
“There will be opportunities offered by the new levy board structure and we want to make sure the potato industry makes the most of these,” said Mr Heywood. “Maybe we should be doing more in a specific area, or perhaps what’s needed is a change of focus.”
The aim of this dialogue is to see at least 10% of levy-payers face-to-face. Feedback will be collated and used to inform business plans from 2009 and beyond, as well as help decide priorities for the potato sector.