Teagasc has suffered a significant reduction in advisory resources and this is causing enormous pressure on its staff.

This is according to Prof Gerry Boyle, Teagasc director, who was speaking at this week’s National Potato Conference. “Teagasc has had to manage resources as best we possibly can,” he said.

Since 2008 staff numbers in Teagasc has declined by 36 per cent, where front-line advisory staff has reduced from 400 to 250. There is currently a government-imposed moratorium in place, which prohibits the agency from employing new staff.

“We have committed to putting in place significant resources in research advisory for the potato sector and the context of that is important as there is enormous pressure on skilled resources within the organisation and especially where there are skilled people who are put to work in other areas.”

Prof Boyle moved to reassure potato farmers that services and research in this sector will continue within the advisory authority “as best it can despite” the current pressures.

“Look we have a fantastic potato tradition going back generations in Teagasc,” he said. “On the research side in terms of potato varieties and on the advisory side in terms of delivering advice to farmers, it would be a shame, notwithstanding the enormous pressures, that we turn our backs on that resource and we certainly don’t intend to do that.”

Pictured Director Gerry Boyle