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Scottish minister pledges to fight for seed potato exporters

Scotland’s rural economy minister has pledged to do “everything possible” to reverse the “damaging impact” of the UK’s trade deal with the EU on seed potato farmers.

According to a report by Gina Davidson for The Scotsman, Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing has revealed he is already in talks with the UK Government’s Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, to find a solution to the new export ban on the crop to the EU and Northern Ireland.

Seed potatoes were worth £113 million to UK farmers in the year to last June, with around 100,000 tonnes sold abroad. Sales to the EU from Scotland are around 22,000 tonnes per year. From Friday, seed potatoes will be banned from being exported to the EU, which could have an estimated £15m impact on the sector in which Scotland accounts for three-quarters of the UK’s 280 growers.

Mr Ewing said he held talks with industry leaders this Monday and an urgent meeting with Mr Eustice. He said: “I am extremely disappointed and concerned at the impact the loss of the European Union and Northern Ireland markets will have on the Scottish seed potato industry.

Source: The Scotsman. Read the full report here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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