The UK’s departure from the European Union has created a catch-22 for some Irish farmers who can no longer import British seed potatoes but the move could revitalise the domestic trade in the product, reports Cormac McQuinn for The Irish Times.
The import ban has the potential to cause headaches for farmers growing potatoes for consumers and for the snack industry, with a switch to seed potato from the Continent bringing increased transport costs and the prospect of importing diseases.
Before the Brexit trade deal there was concern over a threat to the traditional “chipper chip” as it was unclear if the British potatoes traditionally used in Irish fish and chip shops could still be imported. The pre-Christmas trade agreement between the EU and UK resolved that issue and British “table” potatoes continue to cross the Irish Sea.
However, seed potatoes – from which farmers grow their crop – can no longer make the same journey as EU-UK phytosanitary regulations are now not aligned.
Crisp manufacturer Tayto Snacks moved – along with its suppliers – to take early delivery of its stock of seed potatoes from Britain and the EU ahead of the Brexit deadline. Despite the uncertainty, it sought to reassure consumers that it would take “appropriate steps” to maintain supplies in the years ahead.
Source: The Irish Times. Read the full article here
Photo: Paddy Reynolds, of Pat Reynolds and Sons Farm, in front of a storage bay holding chipping potatoes in Co Meath. Photograph: Alan Betson