Gordon MP Richard Thomson has warned DEFRA Farming Minister Victoria Prentis that the “clock is ticking” for Scottish seed potato exports as the Irish Government put in place a €3million investment scheme in their domestic potato growers in a bid to capitalise on the ban on imports of Scottish seed potatoes.
Announcing the detail of the scheme, Irish Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said: “This presents a timely opportunity for the Irish seed potato sector to develop capacity and expand to ensure a reliable supply of domestically produced high grade seed potato material.”
Commenting, Richard Thomson, MP said: “We were told there would be huge benefits to agriculture from Brexit. In this case, the benefits are entirely flowing to seed potato growers in Ireland as their government recognises a Brexit opportunity and has stepped-up to inject a €3million boost to their own farmers and growers.
“This is an entirely predictable response from the Irish Government – and one which is no more than you would expect from a government which takes farming seriously and recognises an opportunity to benefit its farmers when it sees it.
“The difficulty is that this UK Government has taken its eye off the ball. It was already distracted by the poor behaviour of its Prime Minister and is now consumed with the contest to see who will succeed him.
“I have again written to DEFRA on the subject and stated in my letter to Farming Minister Victoria Prentis that the clock is ticking and if action is not taken soon then there may be no going back to established markets such as Ireland because they will have developed their own domestic capacity.”