With a cost-of-living crisis upon us, what better time to launch GB Potatoes.

The humble potato can provide to every family in the land a healthy affordable and nutritious food. The average baked, boiled or steamed potato only contains 160 calories, or a 20th of our daily energy need. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and iron, so essential to good health.

Sadly, AHDB never did enough to promote potatoes as a 'health food' and it is a scandal that its refused to promote potatoes as part of the five-a-day veg healthy eating diet.

The old Potato Marketing Board (PMB) did a fantastic job in maintaining rigorous standards of potatoes to the benefit of the consumer. Often today, I see potatoes for sale that are so green they are not safe to eat, this is not acceptable and is such a waste.

It is my hope that our new organisation, GB Potatoes, will gain momentum across the potato sector to ensure healthy and affordable potatoes help feed the nation in these times of financial pressures.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining, thus the demise of AHDB Potatoes has given birth to a much slimmer more focused new organisation called GB Potatoes.

The genesis was a working group of nine stakeholders with vested interests in seeing that the GB potato industry flourishes going forwards. The members of the working group read like a who’s who of spud royalty and include top potato growers such as Euan Grewar, of Grewar Potatoes; the inspirational John Chinn from Ross on Wye; our own Archie Gibson, head of Agrico in Scotland; and Lincolnshire grower, Alex Godfrey, to name but a few.

GB Potatoes has set out its aims which are to promote innovation and represent the interests of the potato industry to UK governments. Stakeholder Mark Taylor was keen to point out GB Potatoes will not be business as usual and stated this will be a 'lean and efficient umbrella body that can help to coordinate our industry when a joined-up response is needed'.

Archie Gibson pointed out that about 70% of all potatoes grown in England and Wales are planted with Scotch certified seed, and the seed industry welcomed having a trusted and respected voice that can represent industry priorities to the home nation governments. He said 'this is vital if the challenges associated with food security are to be addressed.'

GB Potatoes seeks to represent the voices of the whole industry and is keen to work alongside existing associations, organisations and research institutes. Funding will be by a basic subscription expected to be £10/ha plus 10p per tonne for first purchasers.

The group wish to make it clear that GB Potatoes will be owned and controlled by its members and only member will have access to funded research and data.

Tony Bambridge, from Norfolk, has stated that the new group must be responsive to members needs whilst Sophie Bambridge added 'we need people with a passion for potatoes and the drive and skills to take the industry forward'.

GB Potatoes will also welcome associate members, who do not grow potatoes but can bring valuable expertise. The working group encourage anyone with an interest in potatoes to visit the website www.gb-potatoes.co.uk or email info@gb-potatoes.co.uk