2015-01-05   facebook twitter rss

Facing Potato Industry Challenges

With Scotland’s potato growers reeling from the fall in demand for fresh potatoes and low prices from over-supply, a conference in Perth will stress the positive messages for an important industry.

The SAC Consulting Association of Potato Producers (SACCAPP) Conference planned for Wednesday 21 January at Perth Racecourse is in its 16th year and has become a key event for all sectors of the potato industry, from growers of seed and ware to packers, processors and their advisers. With innovation a theme this year there are two new initiatives to interest delegates.

Potato Field

One by companies who have breeding programmes is a demonstration of those varieties they think will be winners in the future but which are not yet in the production pipeline. The other, more tasty innovation, will be a pre-lunch, secret, alcoholic aperitif closely related to potatoes!

The Chairman for this year’s SACCAPP conference is the well known Colin Heron from McCain Potatoes (Scotland). He will use the opportunity to introduce SAC Consulting’s new, Perth based potato specialist Euan Fraser, just returned to his native Scotland following extensive front-line industry experience south of the border. He will be keen to renew old friendships and make new industry links.

Conference business proper will begin with another respected member of Scotland’s Rural College staff Dr Stuart Wale who will review the past season, address some of the wider issues facing the sector and prepare the ground for the next two speakers, Agronomist Andy Steven of Agrovista and supermarket representative Alan Wilson of Waitrose.

They will consider the vexed question of the future of the potato industry and for fresh potatoes in particular. Finally, before lunch and that aperitif, two industry experts will consider storage issues and issues linked to energy costs and generation.

The afternoon programme starts with a workshop considering how to cope with the threat to Scotland from Potato Cyst Nematode. Then other soil borne threats come under the spotlight with discussions on diagnostic techniques, and crop monitoring using UAV’s and drones. The event will close with a well respected producer explaining how he is improving production and Stuart Wale rounding up proceedings with a positive forward looking message for the year ahead.


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