12 December 1997

Seed potato funding fillip from BPC

SEED potatoes are getting a boost from the British Potato Council following widespread consultation earlier in the year.

Initiatives to meet fast changing market demands have the full backing of the British Potato Council, says Jim Cruickshank, chairman of the BPC Seed Sectoral Group.

"There are big changes in the market from processors and supermarkets which are influencing seed requirements and need addressing." Funding will not be tied to a budget. "If a job needs doing well do it," says Mr Cruickshank.

Better briefings

Better communication is a key goal and will see BPC regional staff playing a greater role in briefing growers, he adds.

Plans for the coming season include:

&#8226 Education programme on handling and storing seed and purchasing seed by tuber count to achieve the accurate plant populations needed to meet the ware tuber size demands of buyers.

&#8226 Technical newsletters and grower meetings to relay research findings.

&#8226 Seed open days in Scotland.

&#8226 Co-ordinated field trials of British seed in overseas markets.

&#8226 Inward missions of overseas buyers supported by the DTI.