Earlier this year, AHDB launched an online portal to help put potato growers and wholesale buyers in touch with each other. The portal was set up to act as a ‘match-making’ site for growers and merchants to find each other, with any trade taking place directly between the two parties.
During the coronavirus pandemic, AHDB, the NFU, NFU Scotland, PPA, FPSA and the BPTA have held weekly calls to discuss issues affecting the sector. On one of these calls it was suggested that a portal would help smooth the supply of potatoes in a market that had been disrupted by a rapidly changing demand profile. Click here for more information from AHDB on how demand in the market has changed.
The portal was set up by AHDB, via the creators of the Graindex and Sell My Livestock websites, with the NFU and BPTA contributing to the design process, to ensure growers and merchants were represented.
NFU horticulture adviser Rupert Weaver said:
"When lockdown came into place in March almost all fast food outlets and fish and chip shops closed overnight. This had an immediate impact on the processing and chipping sectors which left many growers unable to shift stock. Since then we have seen some recovery of these sectors, with most fast food outlets now starting to reopen and an estimated 60% of fish and chip shops now open. Despite these positive steps, food outlets are not running at full capacity, and fish and chip shops have not opened uniformly across the country, with seaside areas in particular seeing little business. It is essential that where there is demand, potential buyers are able to connect with growers who have excess stock.
"When the crisis hit we started to receive feedback from growers asking for help to connect them with potential customers. We raised this with AHDB and have since been contributing to the design process to produce this portal. We hope that alongside our other work with the sector it’ll help alleviate some of the mounting pressure that growers are facing."
How does the portal work for growers?
Growers can view any requests on the portal from merchants and/or post available stocks of potatoes. When posting available stocks you’ll be asked to submit a location, variety and information about how long the potatoes have been in store. There will also be a box to submit detail about quality. You can then wait for merchants to reply to your request, or reply to any merchant posts on the portal.
To get started simply click here to go to the Potato Portal on the AHDB website, then click the button to ‘Create Account’. Once you have an account, you can log in to make any changes to your posts.
Contact from potential buyers will come direct via the contact details you share on the site – but only registered users will be able to see these details.
How does the portal work for merchants?
Let’s say a buyer normally has good contacts for the supply of potatoes for the fresh-pack market in their area, but due to increased demand at retail their normal suppliers are running low – it may be that there is a grower outside of their normal region or contact list that can meet the need. The potato portal can help them find a grower with available stocks.
Merchants can view available stocks from growers and/or post requests for specific varieties and/or volumes of potatoes. You’ll be asked to submit a location for delivery and to provide details about your needs. You can then wait for growers to respond to your request, or contact the growers who have left posts on the portal.
To get started simply click here to go to the Potato Portal on the AHDB website, then click the button to ‘Create Account’. Once you have an account, you can log-in to make any changes to your posts.
Contact from potential suppliers will come direct via the contact details you share on the site – but only registered users will be able to see these details.
Is the portal GDPR compliant and data secure?
Yes. Data is held securely in line with regulations and security testing has been completed.
Will there be a process for help and complaints?
Yes. The team that runs the website has a live support function to help you use the site. You can also report any inappropriate behaviour from buyers or sellers to be investigated by the team.
More from NFUonline:
- Waitrose and ITV launch campaign backing Pick for Britain
- Coronavirus: Key concerns and priorities in the potatoes supply chain
- Coronavirus: A message from the NFU potato forum chairman
- What business support grants are available due to COVID-19?