NFU takes up issue of potato growers' "severe" payment deductions

The NFU has written to processors and packers calling for clarity and transparency in the supply chain after potato growers reported deductions of up to 30% being made to payments with little or no explanation.

Image: Make It Kenya Photo / Stuart Price (public domain)
Image: Make It Kenya Photo / Stuart Price (public domain)

The NFU is calling for full, itemised breakdowns of deductions to be made available within 48 hours.

Its potato forum chairman Alex Godfrey said the current situation could cause long-term harm to the sector, adding: "Farmers are telling us that this situation is getting worse, not better."

He explained: "Farmers are becoming more and more frustrated at the scale of the problem, with some processors and packers offering little or no supporting data to explain the reduction in payment. Growers then often wait weeks before being told of the deductions. This can’t continue. Growers must be given clarity and transparency if they are expected to improve efficiencies and production on farm."

Potatoes that do not meet the specification can be used for a secondary purpose such as in added-value processed or prepared food, without the grower being paid - a practice growers have expressed concern over.

Godfrey added: "Packing businesses have diversified to enable them to use more of the crop and produce products such as chilled mash or wedges. There needs to be recognition of the value of the crop used for this purpose and a reasonable reward for growers."


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