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The world's top potato scientists are heading to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 14:46 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 06 March 2019

The challenges facing the potato industry will be discussed at a scientific conference in Norwich. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

The challenges facing the potato industry will be discussed at a scientific conference in Norwich. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015

Top potato researchers from around the world will gather in Norwich next week to discuss the challenges in a "big year for the potato industry".

The conference at the Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, is being hosted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Certis, the post-harvest section of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR).

It will focus on the implications for long-term storage in the likely absence of chlorpropham (CIPC) – a sprout suppressant used on more than 80pc of potatoes stored in the UK, which is at risk of losing its approval in an impending EU vote.

Mark Taylor, chairman of the UK Fresh Potato Suppliers Association will outline the current post-harvest issues for potatoes, and there will be sessions exploring the regulatory, strategic and possible technical solutions – both chemical and non-chemical.

The programme also includes potato tuber pathology, potato physiology, dormancy and store management.

Glyn Harper, crop storage senior scientist for the AHDB, said: “2019 is a big year for the potato industry and the future of long-term storage.

“The likely absence of CIPC in Europe is one such challenge and there will be sessions exploring the regulatory, strategic and possible technical solutions – both chemical and non-chemical. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear leading representatives discuss the challenges concerning the loss of CIPC.

“I’m sure there will be lots of interest to our fellow post-harvest colleagues, who are travelling from across Europe, North America and as far as New Zealand to attend.”

READ MORE: Irrigation forecast deepens water worries for East Anglian farmers

The EAPR has teamed up with Agri-Tech East to give delegates the opportunity to hear first-hand from East Anglian innovators with new products and emerging tech to support the potato and post-harvest sectors.

Agri-Tech East members will give a series of “lightning” presentations on leading-edge technologies ranging from remote sensing to crop monitoring and storage solutions.

The conference, from March 12 to 14, will also include a technical tour on the 14 March, including commercial stores and the opportunity to see the facilities and research undertaken to Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.

For more information, see the EAPR website.

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