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Climate change: Specialist warns of future ‘existential threat’ to the British potato industry

According to a report by BBC News, the humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned. Scotland’s fields grow a quarter of Britain’s potato crop. However, household favourites such as Ayrshire and Maris Piper are said to be at risk as temperatures rise.

The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions. Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry.

Prof Torrance told BBC Scotland’s Landward that climate change was a major problem. “Potatoes are a cool-climate crop,” she said. “And of course, climate change predictions are that we’re going to have hotter and drier summers. So that’s a big problem.”

“We need to develop new varieties in time for the huge problems coming along the line with hotter weather and droughts which pose an existential threat to the industry.”

Source: BBC News. Read the full story here
Related: The interview with Prof Lesley Torrance by Cammy Wilson of Landward can be seen on BBC Scotland – BBC Scotland’s Landward clip
Photo: Prof Lesley Torrance told the BBC’s Landward that new varieties are needed. Credit BBC Landward

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