14 November 1997

EC cash helps mini tuber development

HIGH grade seed potato production using mini-tuber technology has had a big boost thanks to EC grant funding.

Scottish company Ingraston Potato Technology is aiming to be the leading player in the European market for high grade seed. Part backing from the EC to develop a mini-tuber harvester will help a lot.

IPT was set up last year to develop the micro-propagation technique pioneered by the Scottish Office. Half the £10,700 cost of the harvester was met by a grant from LEADER II, a rural development programme part-funded by the EC and administered by Scottish Borders Enterprise.

The Gymnast 96 Harvester from Devon-based Bray Valley Machinery has been specifically designed to gather IPTs miniature virus-free seed tubers, which are too small for conventional lifters to handle.

Scotland already claims a 20% share of the £2bn market for European potato seed. Mini-tubers, which IPT has been selling for 18 months, are fast gaining acceptance, according to the firms Harry Dickinson. "There is no doubt they are the way forward because they bring down the price of seed." &#42


Harry Dickinson, IPT managing director, with the new part EC-funded Gymnast harvester.

Harry Dickinson, IPT managing director, with the new part EC-funded Gymnast harvester.