The following letter was sent to Potato News Today by potato storage specialist in the UK, Ray Andrews, and we published it as such. AHDB’s announcement that it is consulting on the future of the Sutton Bridge Crop Research Station, and on potato storage research more broadly, should worry every potato grower in this country.
Too many people in the sector still seem unaware this is happening, so we risk sleep-walking into an uncertain future.
The excellence of Sutton Bridge’s work is recognised right around the world.
Since it was launched in 1964 it has built up an outstanding track record for world quality research. It is a jewel in the crown that should be treasured rather than trashed.
Completing all major research into such a complex subject on one site means it has a unique synergy and level of co-ordination that cannot be achieved if the work were split between multiple sites, no matter how excellent those individual sites may be.
In addition, this proposal comes when growers are facing a unique triple threat; from coronavirus; from the withdrawal of CIPC and from Brexit.
The last thing it needs is uncertainty hanging over a unique, world-leading research facility that has achieved so much.
I urge everyone involved in the potato industry to make their voice heard and to protect this unique facility.
From Ray Andrews, Crop Systems Limited