In his latest newsletter article, NFU Horticulture and Potatoes board chairman, Guy Poskitt, talks AHDB, Food Waste and GM and encourages growers to take advantage of the tools at their disposal.
British potato event in Harrogate, organised by AHDB Potatoes, was without doubt a huge success; congratulations need to go to all involved. Not only was the entire industry represented (either through trade stands or visitors), but the quality of the speakers in the seminar programme was of a high standard with lots of interesting projects. I am continually amazed at the amount of information AHDB has at its finger tips and the tools they have to enable us to grow and understand our crops better. I can't stress enough to potato growers to make the most of these worthwhile functions that AHDB offers us.
For potatoes, the planted area this year is down but the market feels better balanced. Both AHDB and NFU has been saying for some time now that growers ought to grow for the market – or to put it another way, sell before you plant! This year it seems to have worked well. Let’s hope it continues.
Some of you may have seen me on Hugh's War on Waste on BBC 1. The programme illustrated how much of our food we all throw away – and may help encourage consumers and retailers to relax standards, allowing more of our perfectly usable produce into the food chain. The media is often happy to blame retailers about the high standards they set but this is only in reaction to the even higher standards modern consumers have come to expect. Hopefully there will now be a push to change the way food is marketed so that consumers look more at food waste and crop utilisation, rather than just its cosmetic appeal.
Recently the NFU had a Conference on the future of GM; although not attending myself I was certainly interested in its content. GM is currently grown on 181 million hectares of land by 18 million farmers. Surely this has to be a message to Europe and consumers that GM is the future. To me, with the further reduction in pesticides, GM is the only future ahead.
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