A NORTHUMBERLAND potato seed company has beaten off its rivals from Europe and Russia to win a prestigious industry award.
High-grade seed potato grower Greenseed International, based on Ford and Etal Estates, has scooped the PepsiCo Seed programme best supplier performance award for Europe.
The honour, for the 2011 growing year, was presented in Gdansk in Poland last week to David Humphreys who started the business 16 years ago.
PepsiCo, the parent group of Walkers Crisps and one of Europe’s biggest food buyers, had never given the award to a UK company until now. Mr Humphreys began the business on 180ha of rented land between Alnwick and Berwick, growing 80 varieties of seed potatoes.
He said: “Our seed from Northumberland is exported throughout Europe and Russia. The Northumbrian grown seed was benchmarked against seed from other areas of Europe and was deemed to be the best.
“We won the award because our seed crops out-performed (yield and quality) the others and our reporting and customer service was excellent.
“It means Northumbrian grown seed was deemed to be better than the other material produced in Europe and Russia.”
He is the only full-time employee in the business.
“I rely totally on local retained seasonal staff, self-employed operators and contractors through the growing season,” said Mr Humphreys.
“I would like to acknowledge the help and support of local land providers and the fact we rely on the services of local haulage, storage, agricultural chemical, fertiliser, machinery dealers and support from the local community.
“The local plant health inspector for Northumberland, Andrew Kirkwood has been supportive and offered encouragement.”