Potato growers are calling for special assistance after the sudden closure of many fish and chip shops.
The National Federation of Fish Friers urged its 10,000 members to shut up shop because social distancing measures could not be guaranteed, although some have continued to deliver.
Cambridgeshire-based potato supplier Abbey Produce said the closure of up to 90 per cent of fish and chip shops has left it with high quality potatoes that retailers cannot take and processors do not want because of the closure of restaurant chains.
It fears that without special support growers will go out of business because of the large amount of money tied up in their crops.
Farmers Guardian columnist Tom Clarke said the closure of fish and chip shops instantly wiped £100/tonne off prices and he was now facing having to dump stock if no buyers were found.
There were also reports of McCain contacting growers asking them to reduce their contracted potato areas for the 2020 harvest following the reduction in foodservice demand.
About 10 per cent of Britain’s 5.1 million tonne potato crop was grown for the fresh chipping market in 2019, estimated AHDB.
Processing (mainly for frozen chips and crisps) accounted for a third with fresh pre-pack and loose 45 per cent and seed the remainder.