Potato packers and processors can drive the sector forward by communicating better with growers about how they can improve their crop, according to a new report by the NFU.
Following a series of meetings with the industry, the study highlights producers’ desire for clearer information to allow them, and the whole industry, to become more competitive and productive.
Earlier this year, the NFU highlighted the need for greater transparency in the potato industry, after growers reported significant payment deductions with little or no explanation.
NFU potato forum chairman Alex Godfrey said: “In order for all parts of the industry to become more efficient, competitive and profitable, growers need to know where they can improve their crop.
“It has been clear for some time that a system for doing that did not exist widely across the sector.
“To enable the industry to move forward, processors and packers should share as much accurate detail on crop quality as possible with growers. In the long run this will help the whole of the potato industry benefit.”
He added: “It is encouraging that we’ve already seen one packer commit to introducing a report for growers that sets out the levels of deductions on a load-by-load basis for the 2017-18 season, demonstrating a willingness to improve communications.”
But Godfrey stressed there was “work for growers too”, saying most packers and processors “would like to see growers visit their facilities more often”.
“Crucially, if a grower isn’t getting the information they need to improve their business, they should ask for it,” he said.