British Potato 2011: Levy increase confirmed

Potato growers will be asked to pay an extra 3% in levy to the Potato Council from next April.

The rise is the third of three successive yearly 3% increases, the Council announced in 2009.

If adopted, following the industry consultation on the Potato Council’s corporate plan, growers will pay £42.62/ha, while the purchaser levy would be 18.54p/t.

That was still £9.89/ha less than if inflation had been tracked, Allan Stevenson, the Potato Council’s chairman said at British Potato 2011.

“And we believe it will be viable for us to go another two years without a levy increase, providing circumstances don’t change.

“We’ve also decided that because at the end of the transition period to AHDB our reserves have shrunk to below the level they need to be at for the longer term to be sustainable, we’re targeting having a surplus of £200,000 at the end of each year.”

That would give the cash position to deal with any emergencies in the industry that occurred.

Reserves had steadily been depleted both before the formation of AHDB and during the transition period when several million pounds of reserves had been spent during on the transition project, he said.

At the end of the current year the Potato Council would have a small surplus for the first time in 12 years, Mr Stevenson said. “And at the end of the following year, we are targeting a surplus of £200,000, which is the level we want to retain it at. And we think we can do that without having to come back to levy payer.”

See more