Although discussions are continuing between the UK and the EU on equivalence measures for seed potatoes it is very unlikely that any Scottish seed potatoes will be exported into Europe this season. Growers are having to make serious decisions on what and how much to plant for the coming season, according to Robert Doig of Caledonia Potatoes (a company created last year after demerging from The Caithness Group).
According to him, “some people in the industry thought it would be a mere formality, but that was not the case. The EU is simply applying the same rules to the UK as they do to other third-party countries. What I would expect is at least a reciprocal agreement which would give Scottish – and all GB seed producers a level playing field. If we can’t export to EU then European growers shouldn’t be able to export to the UK, it’s just logical.
“GB seed growers, with a few tweaks, could supply the whole UK demand for seed potatoes. Some growers are planting varieties in the hope that exports to Europe will be allowed at some point this year, but we, and other growers are not. This will mean a significant reduction in the amount of seed potatoes planted this year.
“Brexit has been on the cards for 4-5 years now so growers who do not have varieties for the UK seed market should really have planned better.”
Source: FreshPlaza. Full report here
Photo: Caledonia Rose | Caledonia Potatoes