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Cultivating a prosperous future for potato farmers

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Cultivating a prosperous future for potato farmers

Cultivating a prosperous future for potato farmers
September 02
11:02 2012

Despite a tough year for UK potato farming, one Lincolnshire-based company is continuing to thrive. This month Arundel Kerr Produce Ltd (AKP) prepares to open its new 32,000 sq. ft (7,500 tonne) state-of-the-art potato storage facility and grading line, which will enable the company to meet the increased demand from Morrisons and Linroyale for locally sourced, quality added potatoes.

AKP won funding towards the £2m storage facility from the Rural Development Programme for England in 2009. The facilities, based at Elsham Wold Industrial Estate, will increase the company’s capacity for grading and storage and will provide AKP with the ability to supply into a market that has historically been served outside of the region and through imports. Ultimately, this will enable the potato sector to prosper in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regions – as well as further a field – with growers maximising the output from their land.

The new facility, which will be officially opened by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Chairman John Godfrey CBE on Wednesday 22 August at 2pm, includes a sophisticated cold store suitable for long-term storage, enabling the late season marketing of potatoes. The new grading line will increase capacity and improve the quality of handling, and will be used to grade potatoes on the site, increasing the demand from AKP’s other customers including McCain and Lamb Weston.

As a result of the development, AKP has increased its number of full time employees, and created a number of new jobs on farms. Its successful graduate programme is also running throughout the 2012/13 season and has this year doubled in size.

AKP Managing Director Richard Arundel said: “We’re looking forward to opening the new cold store and grading facility – the uncharacteristic weather conditions have brought us a challenging year, but the opening event is just rewards for everyone’s hard work.

“The new facility will not only enable us to meet the demand of our biggest customers, but we’ve also successfully improved the quality and freshness of our potatoes by reducing transportation, handling and using the latest cold store technologies. We’ve even reduced our carbon footprint through minimising haulage and using an energy efficient and environmentally sustainable production and storage system.”

Interviews with AKP Managing Director Richard Arundel are available on request. Please email Nina Shipley nina@rbpinternational.com or Sarah Moor sarah@rbpinternational.com or call 01652 680060 if you would like any further information and if you would like to attend the event.

AKP was established in 1999 as a potato marketing business to market the potato production of five large-scale potato growing businesses in the UK. Since then, the business has expanded and now markets and handles more than 75,000 tonnes per annum, 43,000 tonnes of which is supplied to major supermarket Morrisons, which has the fourth highest market share in the UK.

The majority of AKP’s production is in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk and the company’s primary focus is to provide 52-weel continuity of high quality potatoes to the UK’s multiple retail, packing and processing sectors.

 

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