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NFU calls on Government to safeguard British potato production

NFU calls on Government to safeguard British potato production British, Government, NFU, Potato, production, protect Food and Beverage Business

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has spoken out on the challenges facing potato growers in the UK and is urging political action to safeguard the future of British potato production. In recent years, growers have faced a series of setbacks including droughts, floods, and prolonged heavy rain, leading to significant delays in crop harvesting and planting. The rising costs of inputs such as fertiliser and energy storage have also put pressure on the sector, with production costs increasing by 28% in the last two years.

NFU’s potato policy group vice chair, Alastair Heath, emphasized the impact of these challenges on growers, with some forced to reduce production to minimize losses. The unpredictable weather conditions have further exacerbated the situation, causing widespread delays and financial strains. Business confidence is at an all-time low, leading to concerns about the availability of British potato supplies in the short term.

As a response to the current situation, NFU has emphasized the importance of maintaining self-sufficiency in potato production. While efforts are being made to utilize the crop effectively and minimize waste, the reliance on imports as a backup plan is not sustainable in the long run. The union warns that the UK cannot solely rely on imports, especially in light of the tight potato supplies across the EU.

Looking ahead, NFU is calling for practical policies to protect and enhance British potato production. Measures such as proactive watercourse management, access to plant protection products, and a dedicated agricultural budget are essential for ensuring the resilience and sustainability of the sector. Additionally, supermarkets are urged to support suppliers by relaxing specifications to prevent quality potatoes from going to waste.

In conclusion, NFU stresses the importance of prioritizing homegrown food production to ensure food security and stability in the UK market. As the upcoming Government prepares to address these challenges, it is crucial to focus on building resilience, boosting profitability, and promoting the consumption of British produce for the benefit of consumers and the agricultural industry as a whole.

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