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British growers on pros and cons of potato levy loss

The ballot on continuation of the AHDB Potatoes levy saw more than 66 per cent of participants vote against. Journalists Alice Dyer and Marianne Curtis gauge reaction and wrote this article, published by Farmers Guardian.

Lancashire grower, Neil Webster who voted to ditch the levy, says this was down to the lack of support following the impact coronavirus has had on his business. “Our turnover is quarter what is was the year before due to the pandemic. What swayed me was the lack of support we have had from [AHDB Potatoes]. I have asked about a reduction in levy fees due to unharvested crops but there has been nothing.” This year Mr Webster has reduced his potato area by 30 per cent.

Although he voted to continue with the levy, Tony Bambridge of B and C Farming, Norfolk, who grows 140 hectares of ware potatoes and 180ha of seed potatoes says he can understand why many growers voted to scrap it and that the AHDB should have listened more.

Norfolk-based potato grower Mark Means, who grows 120ha for the packing and chipping markets voted to continue with the levy and questions what comes next. “The key bit for me is what we have got afterwards. Nothing – a lack of independent research. Who will do long term research on storage and nematicides?” Mr Means took part in benchmarking and changed his stores dramatically after a review by AHDB.

Source: Farmers Guardian. Read the full article here
Photo: Farmers Guardian
Related: Voting Report on AHDB Potato ballot is with Ministers

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