McCain's £25m pledge to help growers battle Covid and climate crisis

Funding will be delivered through grower contracts with McCain, grant funding and multi-year incentive offers
Funding will be delivered through grower contracts with McCain, grant funding and multi-year incentive offers

McCain has announced a £25m investment in the British potato industry to help farmers fight the impacts of climate change and Covid-19.

The firm, the UK’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, said the investment would also strengthen its partnership with farmers.

It said the last two years were two of the worst potato crops the UK had seen in 40 years.

The company's Potato Farmer Pledge has been worked on following feedback from its 250 farmer suppliers and is split into three elements.



Funding will be delivered through grower contracts with McCain, grant funding and multi-year incentive offers.

Multi-year Incentives - a 3-5-year loyalty scheme - will reward farmers who continue to supply for the company.



Grower Grant Funding is a fund to which growers can apply for grants to invest in harvesting capacity.

It also aims to help farmers improve sustainable growing through irrigation infrastructure and new technology such as self-propelled harvesters. There have been 85 applications to date.

Lastly, Sustainable Contracts will see McCain optimise its contracts. The firm said it would improve prices on early season varieties so farmers get fair prices.

According to McCain, the investment would help British farmers manage the increasingly erratic weather caused by climate change as well as the impact of Covid.

“British potato farmers have been hit immensely hard in recent years,” said Howard Snape, regional president at McCain GB.

“Having faced a major drought and one of the wettest harvests on record, they’ve experienced two of the worst crops in 40 years.

"Added to that, without us honouring our contracts with growers and finding alternative outlets, they would have been left with a huge surplus of wasted potatoes due to Covid-19 shutting down the hospitality industry."



NFU president Minette Batters welcomed the 'much-needed' investment amid climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Following two seasons of extreme weather impact followed by Covid-19 market disruption, growers need all the support they can get to have the confidence to grow into the future."