Potato Review

www.potatoreview.com POTATO REVIEW MAY/JUNE 2020 11 AHDB ON THE SPOT T o say that is has been a turbulent few weeks is an understatement. It has been heartening to see farming standing shoulder to shoulder with other critical industries, working hard and playing its part in keeping the country going. In the emergency, as always, our job is to support you to weather the storm and to ght for the industry. We are meeting weekly with NFU, NFUS, the Fresh Potato Suppliers Association and the Potato Processors Association. Each of us has our own route into DEFRA and government and we work together to ensure the right people are aware of the issues you are facing. Accurate market information A key AHDB role is to provide the evidence needed to make claims on your behalf. An example of this is our estimate of the volume of potatoes in store that were destined for chip shops, which when released in the second week of April stood at 188,576 tonnes. We will carry on providing market intelligence especially for the parts of the industry under pressure. We will post our analysis and data as soon as we have it through Twitter and our website. Other recent updates have included reviews and forecasts for the rapidly changing retail sector, and analysis of potato stocks and how supplies might be depleted by changing demand. Chipping sector pressure We are working very closely with NFU and others on practical things such as information, resources and tools for growers who are looking at switching crop into a di erent market to the one it was originally intended to supply. e NFU has been in regular contact the National Federation of Fish Fryers (NFFF), who in turn is carefully revisiting its advice to chip shops as new information becomes available. We understand that supermarkets are running taste tests and consumer panels on chipping varieties that may help them meet growing demand. Keeping up with demand Our consumer marketing team has tweaked recipes to suit lockdown living and adapted our posts from lovepotatoes.co.uk digital channels. A recent item on how to store potatoes at home was shared over ten thousand times on Facebook and Instagram. For now, given the buoyant fresh market, we are not planning an additional consumer campaign but we will keep doing everything we can to keep people using and enjoying potatoes at home. Planting returns & payments Growers and buyers will have recently heard from us about planting returns, storage or other estimates. I would ask you to return forms where you can as this will help us provide infor- mation quickly, though of course we understand the pressures you are under. Indeed, please do contact our levy team at Levy@ahdb.org.uk if you have concerns about levy payments. Resources, tools and research Some of our tools and monitoring services have been a ected by teams at research facilities having to work from home. Both our blight and aphid services will be streamlined, however both will continue to run during the season – please see ahdb.org.uk/potatoes for details. Similarly we will not be able to run on farm events in most cases, but we are currently developing a programme of webinars and digital content that you will also be able to nd on our website. Finally, let me sign o by saying that we value your experience and opinions. Our Knowledge Exchange team is there to hear your concerns or ideas. Or you can contact me via jimmy.phillips@ahdb.org.uk I wish you, your business and your family the best in these unpredictable and di cult times. Working together to support you BY JIMMY PHILLIPS AHDB www. tongengineering .com e: sales@tongengineering.com t: +44 (0)1790 752771 > Gentle Handling > Advanced Design > Intelligent Control THE COMPLETE SOLUTION Designed with you in mind

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