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Brexit race on for British seed potato sector

The UK potato industry has been left in no doubt about the frustrations, fears and risk attached to trading high value Scottish seed potatoes as the clock ticks down to a possible no-deal Brexit. Nancy Nicolson reports for The Press and Journal.

With just five weeks left until current trading conditions change forever, Sandy McGowan of Milnathort-based seed export company Cygnet PEP gave delegates at the AHDB’s virtual potato conference his personal perspective of the looming cliff edge that threatens the industry on December 31.

He said the race is now on to beat the deadline and get deliveries of seed across the Channel by the end of the year – and for Cygnet PEP alone, that will require 200 lorries leaving Scotland before Christmas. “We’re already seeing a major log jam from UK container and export ports, and Scotland is particularly poorly served by container export options,” he said.

Mr McGowan insisted traders were used to dealing with countries in North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, so none of the issues attached to trading with Europe post-Brexit would be insurmountable – but they would carry extra costs and paperwork.

“Perhaps the bigger issue is going to be with those who are receiving the seed who don’t have to trade in this manner with some of our competitors in the EU, particularly major seed producers in Holland, Belgium, France and Denmark,” he said.

Source: The Press and Journal. Read the full article here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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