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UK: Winter Forum focuses on industry challenges

Brexit, blight and the future of the potato industry led the discussion at this year’s Winter Forum at Harper Adams University (26 January 2017). The forum was an excellent opportunity to showcase AHDB Potatoes recent work, with trials from both Strategic Potato (SPot) Farms proving to be a particular highlight. Susannah Bolton, Knowledge Exchange Director for AHDB and chairperson for the event, introduced the forum by saying: “This is a great opportunity for everybody to air their views and share knowledge. We’re looking to encourage discussion based on our experiences, we can’t necessarily provide answers on what’s right or wrong, what we are doing is reporting our research.” Sarah Baker, Senior Analyst for AHDB Potatoes, opened the event with a presentation on the industry challenges following the referendum result on 24 June 2016. As an industry worth £4.1bn there has been some concern around the effects of Brexit, and Sarah was on hand to offer advice and words of encouragement. Sarah said: “While Brexit presents industry challenges as a whole, there are significant opportunities for growers going forwards.” Dr David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute provided a clear understanding of the effects of blight. More