Potato store managers will benefit from an £800,000 fund for sprout suppression and storage advice as the uncertainty around the future of Chlorpropham continues.
There have been several delays to the re-approval for use in the EU of Chlorpropham (CIPC), which is used as a sprout suppressant on more than 80 per cent of potatoes stored in the UK.
The EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) was scheduled to vote on the renewal of CIPC’s approval for use both as a herbicide and as a sprout suppressant at its December meeting – but a vote did not take place.
It is on the agenda to be discussed again at the meeting in January. The European Food Safety Agency’s recommendation remains non-renewal.
The use of CIPC has already been approved for the current (2018-2019) storage season, at the same rates as last season.
UK levy board AHDB is calling on the experience of those providing storage advice in the commercial sector, in a bid to extend its reach. A new ‘Storage Network’ of advisors is being created after initial meetings in December and January.
In addition to the uncertainty on the status of CIPC, popular desiccant Diquat, which is used during potato harvest, has lost EU approval, with 2019 becoming the last growing season it can be used.
Maleic Hydrazide, a growth regulator also used for sprout suppression has been re-approved but with changes to its label that may reduce the extent of its use in the field.
Dr Rob Clayton, Strategy Director at AHDB Potatoes, said: “The companies who hold the licences to distribute CIPC continue to work towards its re-approval.
“We have been monitoring this situation closely for some time and supporting growers and the industry in choosing sprout suppression options during this turbulent period is a top priority for AHDB Potatoes.
“Given this uncertainty, and the challenges faced by store managers this year after a tough growing season, we can today announce we have ring-fenced an additional fund of more than £800,000 to ensure all those who store potatoes have access to the advice they need, building on our existing investment.”