A brand-new industry body, GB Potatoes Ltd, was launched the past week. GB Potatoes says it plans to unite the UK potato industry and work with existing produce trade associations to represent the potato sector’s interests and future development in the wake of AHDB Potatoes discontinuation.
GB Potatoes says in a statement its focus will be the GB potato crop but, importantly, it will maintain strong links with the Horticulture sector.
“Our approach brings cross industry stakeholders together through a voluntary subscription on a membership basis.
“This proposal has been put together by a group of potato industry stakeholders (GB Potatoes Working Group) interested to explore the opportunity for cross industry collaboration post the AHDB. Collectively the potato industry respects the outcome of the AHDB levy payer ballot but cannot afford to “look into a void” and recognises the need for a new independent industry body, to represent its interests and future development.
“The levy payer vote demonstrated that AHDB had lost the “consensus” of industry to run and manage an industry body. The group need DEFRA to recognise these failings and engage to support an acceptable alternative (not a new AHDB) which reflects the whole GB potato supply chain. We need a less bureaucratic, more inclusive, and more appropriately funded successor that gains engagement across industry and determines what future structures and priority activities are required.
“We have sought the views and opinions of as many stakeholders as possible from across GB potatoes to gain support and define, “what should come next?”.
“Our vision brings all aspects of the GB Potato Supply Chain together – growers, packers, processors, seed supply, research organisations, independent advisors, trade associations and service providers etc to both contribute and benefit from voluntary cross-industry collaboration. The group proposes an ‘over-arching’ structure that provides true all-sector representation with good governance and accountability. We propose that a cross industry ‘Governing Body’ will oversee this.”
GB Potatoes says it is keen to engage with and embrace all organisations working to the benefit of the sector.
“We are NOT re-inventing the AHDB but believe there is mutual interest in fundamental research and protecting our industry. GB Potatoes needs to demonstrate its value and continue to improve its performance and remain competitive. Action is required now – and that’s what this new organisation brings. Industry needs leadership and a plan to move things on. We believe this proposal sets that in motion.”
Mark Taylor, Inaugural Chair of GB Potatoes said, “Our launch couldn’t come at a more important time for the GB Potato Industry. Working as a collective group must be the way forward if we are to both understand, and then work through the current turbulent times. Whilst recognising different views from across the industry, I strongly encourage everyone to engage and get involved. The Great British Potato needs to be championed!”
Source: GB Potatoes
Related: New trade body aims to be a voice for the potato industry