3 August 2001

Potato eaters set pace for growers

END user needs are making potato growers more demanding of seed producers, with a significant proportion prepared to pay a premium for high quality seed with good customer back-up and service.

That is a key finding of the 2001 British Potato Council seed satisfaction survey of 381 levy payers representing about 15% of the national area. A similar exercise was carried out in 1999.

Communication

Since then communication between growers and suppliers has encouragingly improved, says the BPCs Alasdair MacLennan. But diseased seed is still most often blamed for not hitting target markets.

"So there is still plenty to go at and core areas where the customers needs are not being met."

In the past five years an "alarming 64%" of growers have been dissatisfied with the seed they have bought, he says. Inability to specify treatment or source premium grade seed remains a bone of contention, the survey suggests.

But buyers also have a responsibility to manage stocks correctly after delivery and before planting, says Mr MacLennan. "A common source of deterioration is due to incorrect storage during this period."

&#8226 A BPC Seed Buyers Guide is planned for this autumn. &#42