Cornish early spud men act

4 July 1997

Cornish early spud men act

EARLY potato growers from West Cornwall took to the streets of Truro on Saturday to highlight the plight of their crop, which they claim is now unviable.

They gave away 4t of new season potatoes and collected a thousand signatures on a petition calling for supermarkets to give consumers the option of buying Cornish earlies right from the start of the season rather than importing from the Middle East, Europe and Jersey.

After two years of poor prices, growers were at their wits end said campaign organiser, Paul Badcock.

"We have to persuade the supermarkets to give us a chance next year by taking our early potatoes in quantity as soon as they are available, say from mid-May," he said.

Supermarkets were substantial buyers of earlies and unless they took them while yields were low, quality was high, and prices were good, then the market was quickly flooded and the price collapsed. That was what happened to growers this year, Mr Badcpck said.

"West Cornwall is a depressed area. Mining has gone, fishing is going and if farming goes as well there will be nothing left. The typical 100-acre farm down here has to double crop, producing winter cauliflowers and early potatoes, to make a living. And they cant stand another year of poor returns."

John Burns

Mr Badcock said producers were grateful to Tesco for its support this year. And he asked the other retailers to give producers a chance next season by putting Cornish earlies on their shelves alongside Jersey Royals and let shoppers decide what they want to buy."

See more