The latest issue of AHDB Potatoes’ Market Intelligence Reportshows that the number of professional potato growers in the UK is continuing to fall.
The report shows that after two years of increasing area, the large harvest in excess of 6 million tonnes and resulting low prices in 2017/18 led to a fall in planted area to 117,300 ha.
‘The fall in planted area has been paired with a long-term rationalisation in the number of registered growers,’ says AHDB. ‘This season, the number of registered growers fell to 1,751 – a reduction of 715 growers since 2000. Meanwhile, the average area per grower has been steadily rising during this period.
‘Consolidation within the industry has led to a minority of growers planting an increasing proportion of the GB potato crop. In 2018, 17% of registered growers planted 100 ha or more of potatoes. This compares with just 5 per cent of growers in 2003. Meanwhile, the number of smaller scale growers has declined, with only 830 registered growers planting between 3 and 29 ha in 2018, compared with 2,249 in 2003.’
According to AHDB, economies of scale are the main factor behind fewer smaller growers and continued consolidation at the larger end of the industry.
Photo Credit: AHDB potatoes