Potato packers and processors can drive the sector forward by providing greater levels of information on crop quality to growers, a new report by the National Farmers Union says.
Following a series of meetings with the industry, the report highlights the desire among growers for more information which can allow them, and the whole industry, to become more competitive and productive.
Earlier this year, the NFU highlighted the need for greater clarity and transparency in the industry, after growers reported significant payment deductions with little or no explanation.
“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,” said NFU potato forum chairman Alex Godfrey.
“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.
“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 2017/8 season, demonstrating a willingness to improve communications.
“Of course, there is work for growers too. We found from our discussions that a closer relationship with your customer is absolutely key, and most packers and processors would like to see growers visit their facilities more often. Building that relationship can allow you to feel comfortable sharing any concerns.
“Crucially, if a grower isn’t getting the information they need to improve their business, they should ask for it. The NFU is grateful for the co-operation that packers and processors have already shown and it is vital that this continues as we move onto the next stage of increasing transparency.”