Revolutionise Potato Growing - Support Our No-Spray Varieties

by Sarpo Potatoes Ltd
Match Funding £10,000

About the project


Tipping Point £20,000
Taking the Sarpos to UK £50,000
Taking the Sarpos to new markets £100,000
Meeting the demand created £250,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Potato growers either suffer calamitous crop loss due to blight in wet seasons or they use weekly applications of fungicide to control blight. Organic growers use the heavy-metal toxin, copper, and conventional growers use a cocktail of synthetic fungicides and keep the foliage of the growing potato plant covered in this throughout the growing season. Copper is a persistent and wide-spectrum poison that should never be applied to soil in more than trace amounts. Weedkillers are routinely used. Pesticides are neither good for the health of the environment and its wildlife nor the health of the growers and their close neighbours. Each application of chemicals adds to the Carbon Footprint resulting from growing potatoes. Damage to the soil by compaction is a related problem. Cold stores that keep potatoes from sprouting use lots of electricity and anti-sprout chemicals. In developing countries where fungicides are not used, Sarpos will, quite literally, be life-savers.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Worldwide the cost of blight control has been estimated as more than $3 billion; lost production is estimated to be 15% of the crop. Even in the UK, chemicals in sprays applied to potatoes to control blight cost an estimated £18 million per year, not including costs of applying the stuff. Hidden costs like damage to the environment, to human health and soil compaction are unknown. In parts of Asia, yield could be increased 3-fold by growing virus and blight resistant potatoes.
What is your solution?
GROW SARPO POTATOES: Our naturally bred Sarpo varieties are vigorous, hardy and don’t need chemical crutches to prop them up against diseases and pests. They don’t need refrigerated storage or anti-sprout chemicals through the winter months. Growing Sarpos can cut the carbon footprint by about a half. Our conventional (non-GM), breeding over many years, has built-in resistance from different wild potatoes, giving complex, lasting protection to even the most aggressive forms of blight. Potato growers, farmers and gardeners need these low-input spuds to produce large crops safely without resorting to weekly blight sprays and without using cold stores.
How will you deliver this?
Sarpo Potatoes Ltd is multiplying certified seed of six different Sarpo varieties with different maturities, tastes and uses in the kitchen. During the next few years, we will promote these “Potatoes for a Greener Planet” and sell them to farmers and gardeners in UK but also in Ireland, Europe and beyond. We already have interest from growers in Eastern Europe, D.R.Congo, Pakistan, Nepal and St. Helena and have supplied seed to some of these. Crowdfunding will allow Sarpo Potatoes Ltd to promote its potatoes to combat blight and improve the environmental impact of potato farming across the world. Just think: areas growing only our varieties could say goodbye to blight. Please help us achieve our aim.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    On twitter, RT the key messages that we will be sending throughout the 90 day appeal, Give us a #FF and favourite our tweets. Get our project page link in front of your followers.
  • 5 minutes
    Use your facebook page to publicise what Sarpo are doing. Visit our facebook page, like us and then send it on with your own message attached. If it’s from you it means something, if not.... it’s just an advert. Do this during our 90 day campaign
  • 15 minutes
    Email the information and photos from our Buzzbnk media page to 20 friends and colleagues that don’t use twitter and facebook ... we need their support as well! They can make their contribution by snail mail if they want.
  • 30 minutes
    When meeting your friends, tell them about the project and suggest they can send a Christmas voucher to their old uncle Ebenezer who has everything anyway – or ask him to become a donor/lender himself.
  • A few hours
    Those with more time can help us develop our crowd of supporters. If you grow your own, try planting some and compare with your favourites. They grow well in a pot or even in an old crisp/chip bag. Tell us how you got on even if they were not good enough. We need to know when there is need for improvement.
  • Regular time commitment
    If you reside outside UK, tell your friends about our potatoes and if enough demand is generated, we will try to export seed to you. If you live nearer our base, come to the Henfaes Research Centre in North Wales, learn about Sarpo and get involved in our work. We just love to have volunteers to help with experiments or to cook some up at home and test them out on friends and family.

Share your comments

Opinions and comments mentioned on the FundIt.Buzz website are the personal views of individual contributors. FundIt.Buzz takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to
David Shaw 28 November 2013 - 13:08

Hi Jim, It is great to have your support and your efforts to propagate our appeal in the US of A. You are doing a great job over there and I wish you luck in all your initiatives. Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Jim Gerritsen 28 November 2013 - 00:29

Hi David, We are organic potato farmers in the United States and we are grateful for your good work on developing the Sarpo varieties. We are supporting you and your Buzzbnk Crowdfunding Project and we hope many others will join in to make your campaign successful. Good luck!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm
Bridgewater, Maine USA

David Shaw 20 November 2013 - 14:21

Yes, Dave. And many thanks for your contribution.

Dave Rawlins 20 November 2013 - 13:53

Hope to see you at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

David Shaw 20 November 2013 - 12:09

Hi, CCF. According to rules you would get £1.50 worth of seed each year. If you lend 100k you would get you 3 tonnes! But we are really quite flexible. Go on, give it a go. You will be in very good company. Think of the celebrities you will meet at the Open Day. @SarpoUK

The Crossing Carbon Farm 20 November 2013 - 11:49

LOVE THE LOOK OF YR SPUDS I'd like to know how many spuds I'd expect to get: 3% of £50 loan, what does that look like? if I became an AMBASSADOR

David Shaw 13 November 2013 - 20:15

Well said Spudman and thank you. You sure do know your spuds.

spudman 13 November 2013 - 19:52

Sarvari have already bred a great range of varieties to suit most tastes and there will be more to follow I am sure. With lots of support these varieties could be widely grown. Why large retailers and processors continue to ignore the obvious environmental benefits is baffling. Storage without refrigeration or using sprout suppressing chemicals means less carbon emissions and there is no risk of residues unlike many of the current commercial varieties. Please invest!

What do you think?

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Sarpo Potatoes Ltd and the Sarvari Research Trust aim to achieve the following: • breed naturally blight resistant potatoes • get our potatoes into the hands of those around the world that need them • campaign for sustainable potato production

Geographical coverage


Our track record

We have collaborated with the Sarvari family, from the Lake Balaton area of Hungary, to select commercial varieties with low-input properties. The family has been breeding for natural resistance since the 1970s. The collaboration led to the formation of the Trust and the listing of six of the best varieties. We continue to monitor the blight pathogen to detect any changes in virulence. We trial potential new varieties and have them tested in different climates and soil types. Our potatoes have been assessed independently in the field and in the kitchen and have become well known to thousands of growers and gardeners as a result of hearsay and of favourable articles in the gardening and farming press. Some of our varieties have become firm favourites that growers buy every year. We have accumulated many testimonials from growers, chefs and journalists, here is an example:

Who do we help?

Farmers, growers, allotmenteers and gardeners and, indirectly, the general public through less use of chemicals and energy.

How do we deliver this?

We send small trial samples, free-of-charge, to growers, societies, restaurants and journalists to allow us to get our message out and obtain feedback. We sell small quantities to growers and gardeners in the UK, Republic of Ireland and countries across Europe and the world. Unfortunately, we cannot yet grow enough seed to satisfy an increasing demand. Funding will allow us to do this.

Awards And Recognitions

Six varieties have been assessed for commercial suitability over a two year period and all six have been awarded National List status in the UK and found to be an improvement over varieties already listed. The Welsh Government and European Union have supported us in our research and development. We have had many research contracts funded by public and private bodies and we regularly report our findings in scientific publications and at meetings e.g. EuroBlight Workshops.