The IFA potato committee is to examine if a co-op or a producer organisation could be set up for potato growers to help increase prices.

Meath potato grower and IFA potato committee vice-chair Barry Mitchell asked farmers at a grower meeting last week if they are at the stage now of looking at a co-op to sell their produce.

“There’s too many people selling spuds. I feel it’s going to happen anyway, because we have so few growers left. We talked about this 10, five years ago. Is there an appetite out here for something like this?” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, he said: “Maybe we’re better off with one voice, rather than 200-300 voices or maybe several smaller co-ops that might have 20 or 30 growers”.

IFA policy executive Niamh Brennan said that under the current CAP there is funding for early stage producer organisations (POs) for potato growers.

“It’s not access to the entire suite of PO measures but it would be funding for the initiation and setup of it,” she said.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said growers need a substantial increase in potato prices and said he would be writing to retailers to seek a meeting on price.

“What’s the view of people if we were to come out with a statement that until we see a price increase there won’t be spuds going anywhere? That’s a fair ask now.

“We need a substantial price increase. You might talk amongst yourselves and if there was a will to hold back for a week or two, it would give us a serious lever going in there [to the retailers],” he said.