GB Potatoes & CUPGRA

Working in partnership to the benefit of the industry.

August 2023

Establishing the GB PCN Forum

Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) is potentially the biggest threat facing the whole of the British potato industry and unless it is brought under control it could seriously reduce the future productive capacity of the UK potato sector. 

There has been and continues to be a large amount of work being done by different organisations and bodies across GB but currently there is no joined up approach. The PCN Forum will correct that!

To counter the problem and produce a comprehensive strategy for future management of PCN, GB Potatoes is working in partnership with CUPGRA to establish a National PCN forum.  The Forum will focus on bringing together all those from across the industry who have an interest in, or knowledge of PCN and coordinate an approach that turns that information into a practical industry plan. 

The Forum’s interest will include research past and present, future threats to chemical control, breeding of resistant/tolerant varieties and information on trap cropping and bio fumigation amongst other areas to provide the industry with a strategy for tackling the PCN issue in an integrated way. 

An initial workshop was held on 21st March 2023 at CUPGRA, attended by representatives from all sectors of the industry where it was agreed that there was a need for a National PCN Forum.  The first meeting of the PCN Forum took place on August 17th

Mark Taylor, Chair of GB Potatoes comments” PCN is one of the major issues facing the potato sector and without a co-ordinated approach to the pest the industry is under a grave threat of walking into a situation from which it will be difficult to reverse.  This is why it is so important that the industry comes together to tackle the problem in a joined up and focussed way.  As the voice of the GB potato industry, GB Potatoes is ideally placed to facilitate this forum in partnership with CUPGRA.

It is vitally important that we produce defined goals, realistic timelines and create practical solutions that support the industry. It is not a talking shop, and we will expect to be measured on our outputs”. 

David Almond Deputy Chair of CUPGRA commented that “CUPGRA are delighted to be working with GB Potatoes to create this Forum and ensure that the industry takes a major step forward in developing a plan for tackling this costly and devastating pest”.

The National PCN forum will be an open and inclusive group pulling on technical expertise from wherever it is available as well as utilising the practical skills of growers to produce a strategy that is workable in the field. The steering group is the “initiator” to get the forum underway. Beyond that all interested parties will be encouraged to contribute. 

It is essential that everyone in the industry buys in to the outcomes of the forum not only those directly involved but those on the periphery such as Land Agents, Landowners, consultants, retailers, and the supply chain.

 Disseminating outputs and information will be essential and will be key to the success of the Forum, which is another area that GB potatoes and CUPGRA  are uniquely placed to deliver on.

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