As Joanne Knox reports for Farming Life, around 90 per cent of seed potatoes now need to be sourced from other EU regions, which have not traditionally supplied high grade seed varieties favoured by the Northern Ireland market.
The Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs gave his assessment of the impact on the potato sector of the EU ban on export of seed potatoes from GB to Northern Ireland. The question for written answer was submitted by TUV MLA Jim Allister.
In his response, Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, said: “At the core of the prohibition on moving seed potatoes from GB to NI is the displacement of long established trading from high grade seed areas in Scotland and northern England.”
He continued: “The inability to access this seed reduces the opportunities for potato growers to multiply high grade seed for the local market and, consequently, the production of ware potatoes of these varieties.”
Mr Poots confirmed he is continuing to press the UK government on the matter and that Secretary of State, George Eustice, is seeking the EU to review its current position.
Source: Farming Life. Full report here
Photo: Courtesy Belfast Telegraph