Northern Ireland’s potato industry is reportedly hoping against hope that a derogation allowing the importation of both ware and seed from GB into the province, beyond December 31st, can be sorted out over the coming days. According to a report by Farming Life, Wilson’s Country chairman Angus Wilson stressed that this issue is not directly linked to the ongoing Brexit trade negotiations.
“Rather it has to do with the criteria laid down within the Northern Ireland protocol, which will see the local potato sector remaining within the EU’s single market after January 1st. One direct consequence of this will be a ban on both ware and seed potato imports from GB into Northern Ireland on phytosanitary grounds.”
According to the Wilson’s Country representative, many local processors and merchants import ware potatoes from England for chippings. “In our own case, fresh chips represent a significant proportion of our throughput across the retail and catering sectors.
“…a considerable percentage of all the seed potatoes used by ware growers in Northern Ireland are sourced in Scotland. The reality is that Northern Ireland’s potato sector is very dependent on having unfettered access to both ware and seed imports from the rest of the UK. This trade must be allowed to continue, as is, into the future.”