Seed growers sought for new potato organisation

Directors of the newly launched Seed Potato Organisation (SPO) are looking to recruit members involved in the sector from all areas of the UK, despite the body being a Scottish initiative.

The organisation was formally launched as an independent co-operative by growers north of the border in December to represent all interests of the sector

Chairman Mike Wilson said the group was being set up “by seed growers, for seed growers”.

“While ware growers and the trade are also welcome to join, the focus will very much be on the specialist needs of the seed sector,” he said.

See also: Scottish growers team up as seed potato export spat continues

“And while the organisation has very much been a Scottish initiative, we have welcomed the considerable interest from seed growers south of the border.”

Mr Wilson, who farms in Aberdeenshire, said that the main aims of the SPO would be:

  • To represent the interests of the seed sector
  • To fund research and innovation and technical services
  • To support market development
  • To ensure the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the seed potato sector.

Maintaining the aphid monitoring service, which plays a key role in helping growers act to prevent virus diseases, is a priority, as is the continuation of the Safe Haven initiative.

Growers will have the final say on all areas of the organisation’s operations, which will be run on a “one man, one vote” basis, said Mr Wilson.

Talks are set to take place later this month with a view to gaining representation for English seed growers. 

Growers taking out membership will initially purchase a redeemable £1,000-worth of shares to establish a capital base, with a further annual membership fee of £29/ha of seed grown – equivalent to less than £1/t.

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