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British seed potato merchant banned from exporting potatoes to Northern Ireland or the EU

A potato seed merchant is counting the cost of a Brexit deal blow that will see him lose up to £125,000 a year. Iain Barbour has been banned from exporting potatoes to Northern Ireland or the EU from January 1.

The manager of family-run JBA Seed Potatoes said he “still can’t believe it has been allowed to happen”. Staff had to work around the clock to make sure all orders to Northern Ireland and Europe were posted out ahead of New Year’s Day.

And Mr Barbour warned: “Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will have to try and produce more seed of their favourite varieties – but the wet climate is against them from producing the tonnages they need. “And horticultural growers will also see a massive drop in variety choice when seed can no longer be imported from the UK.”

The business at Rosefield Farm, Annan, is the current world record holder for the highest number of different potato varieties on offer – 667.

However, the Brexit deal means it is now illegal for them to send seed potatoes to any EU country or Northern Ireland. Mr Barbour added: “It accounts for about five per cent of our business at the moment but it was something that we were starting to grow.

“Value wise its about £75-125k of business we will not be able to service anymore. There is no way around it as all seed potatoes must now be accompanied by a plant passport. All my passports are GB only so they are not valid anywhere else at the moment.

Source: Daily Record. Full article here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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