A PERTHSHIRE farming business which supplies table and seed potatoes to the UK, Europe, North Africa and Middle East will increase throughput by up to 100 per cent by modernising operating processes after securing £1 million in support from banking giant HSBC.

Muthill-based FIMM Potatoes will use the backing to purchase a best-in-class optical potato grader, a 50m x 30m multi-level, fully automatic sorter.

The new equipment will also relieve FIMM’s 10-strong team from repetitive manual labour, allowing them to focus on additional duties and developing technical skills.

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Mike McDiarmid, director at FIMM Potatoes, said: “We have a young and talented management team in Mitch Hayfield and James McDiarmid who are driving the business, continually looking at ways to improve efficiency on the farm. It is an important time for the sector and the new optical grader will modernise our equipment and help to safeguard the business.

“HSBC UK has a strong understanding of the agriculture landscape and they were very supportive of our short and long-term plans for growth and seeing the benefits our proposed developments will make to the business.”

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John Robertson, agriculture director for east of Scotland at HSBC UK, said: “FIMM demonstrated a clear strategy for improving and growing its operations. We were delighted to help with the purchase of the new grader which will have a hugely positive impact on the business and its customers.”

The finance was allocated from HSBC UK’s national SME Fund, which aims to actively support UK businesses realise their ambitions for growth and navigate Brexit. The new £14 billion SME Fund has recently been announced by HSBC UK, with £650m committed to supporting SMEs in Scotland.

HSBC UK announced a package of support for businesses dealing with Covid-19 including £5bn to help businesses that need support, preferential financial solutions for ventilator businesses, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme launched, £100 small business loan fee waiver and relationship managers proactively contacting customers.

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