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On the difficulties of Ukrainian potato producers to enter the European market

For a long time, Ukrainian potato producers could not export their products, which negatively affected the industry. Oksana Ruzhenkova, director of the Association of Potato Producers of Ukraine, said this during a recent press conference, UA Voice reports.

She recalled that the year 2018 in the EU was quite dry, and therefore potato yields were lower than average. In fact, it presented a good chance for the country to enter the European market. According to her, potato producers appealed to the State Consumer Service of Ukraine with a request to write a letter to the European Commission, asking the export of potatoes to the EU to be allowed, and thus breaking the 20-year old blockade. A similar letter was sent from Belarus to the EC.

However, the answer to both countries was the same – first harmonize national legislation with European legislation, and only then will it be allowed to happen. Belarus reacted rather harshly, closing its market for European potatoes.

And from September 1, 2019, European seed potatoes ceased to be imported into the country, and a program for the development of their own seed industry was put into place in Belarus. “We were left alone with our problems,” Oksana Ruzhenkova said.

According to her, completely unexpectedly, they received a letter from the State Consumer Service in June 2019, which announced the proposal of the European Commission to launch a pilot project which allowed entrance of potatoes into the EU market.

“We were sent a list of quarantine samples, and assembled a test group of seven farms that were tested on 1,000 hectares of commercial fields. Today we have two farms that are ready to export to the EU, and the rest are in the process,” Oksana Ruzhenkova said, adding that other producers are also preparing to enter the European market.

Source: Potato System

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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