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Ware Growers – Dont forget to ask for Safe Haven!


New pests and diseases in ware crops could result in severe financial losses, warns Potato Council head of seed and export Mark Prentice.

The future sustainability of the supply chain is at risk from increasing threats from new organisms that can potentially devastate a crop.

Quarantine organisms like Ring Rot cause 100 per cent loss of a crop, and the costs dont stop there. Safe disposal and a thorough cleaning up also have to be paid for by the grower, says Mr Prentice. There is no insurance cover for this kind of loss, so it is vital the industry protects itself.

The Safe Haven scheme was set up to create a secure supply chain offering the best possible protection, by not allowing the introduction of bacterial Ring Rot. It also offers good protection from other non-established bacterial diseases. 

Allowing bacterial diseases such as brown rot, ring rot and Dickeya solani to take hold in this country would be catastrophic to both the seed and ware production, he emphasises.

Seed growers are only eligible to join the Safe Haven scheme if they have the highest hygiene standards and acceptance is dependent on strict, scientifically robust protocols being followed. Seed origin, hygiene, machinery, transport and storage are all reviewed prior to certification being awarded.

Over 60% of the seed produced in Britain is within the Safe Haven scheme.

Every grower has to take charge of the seed they purchase and should be asking their seed supplier to supply them seed from within the Safe Haven scheme, he continues.

As always, the customer is king. If a particular variety is not available under the scheme, the ware grower should ask for it to be included.

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