The new potato organisation GB Potatoes is in line for a massive £1.4m injection to deliver seven industry projects. The cash is coming from AHDB who have asked Ministers to grant GB Potatoes the residual potato levy.

The recommendation comes from AHDB’s board following the wind down of levy payer activities within the sector and is supported by the main potato membership organisations.

The seven proposed projects are:

Potato Blight Project – addressing the significant threat of potato blight, by monitoring genetic changes and fungicide sensitivity

Aphid Monitoring Project – supports national aphid monitoring, providing industry-wide data for decision-making

Management Tools to tackle Viruses Project – this project proposes joining Horticulture Crop Protection (HCP) on behalf of the seed sector in order to access essential functions for sustaining high-grade seed production

Reputational Management Project – safeguarding the industry’s reputation through strategic monitoring, proactive crisis management, centralised coordination, influencer engagement, and media outreach

Bridging Information Gap Project – provision of transparent and reliable data on potato cultivation, varieties, and national yield

CIPC Residue Monitoring Project – to support the industry providing data to the Chemical Regulation Division (CRD) to assess chlorpropham (CIPC) residues in stores. Failure to submit data risks rendering stores with a CIPC history unusable

Updating Nutrient Management (RB209) Project – with the industry always looking to move forward and adopt new practices there is a need to ensure revision of fertiliser recommendations reflect current technologies

Letters of support for the proposal have been received from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, the British Potato Trade Association, the Fresh Potato Supplier Association and the Potato Processors’ Association.

Following the sale of the AHDB Potatoes’ Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit, AHDB holds circa £1.8m of potato reserves, £400k of which needs to be set aside to cover any potential residual liabilities.

The Scottish Farmer: GB Potatoes ceo Scott WalkerGB Potatoes ceo Scott Walker

The grant is proposed to be tapered over three to five years, reducing each year as GB Potatoes increases its flow of voluntary industry funding. If approved, it will comprise £1.372m over the first three years.

The grant for years four and five could total £426,200, but this would be dependent on a successful review and the availability of sufficient potato funds from the residual liabilities set aside.

Scott Walker, GB Potatoes chief executive, said: "Our proposed initiatives are designed to confront industry obstacles, nurturing resilience and are for the benefit of the entire supply chain.”