European seed potato trade concerned about future with UK

The Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO) has expressed concerns about the future trade in seed potatoes with the UK as there are no signs of a post-Brexit deal on seed potatoes between Great Britain and the EU.

The issue, which has seen Scottish seed exports to the continent banned due a lack of equivalence could also affect UK imports of EU seed potatoes, of which The Netherlands is the main supplier, accounting for up to 20,000 tonnes a year. Although there is currently a one-way derogation in place from the British Government, if no agreement is agreed on the phytosanitary preconditions for import and export, the export of seed potatoes from EU countries to the UK might be closed on 1 July 2021.

Dick Hylkema, director of NAO told the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture’s, Nature and Food Quality magazine: “In one way or another, seed potatoes have fallen outside the trade agreement. In fact, there is a tough Brexit for this segment of the potato sector. Free trade in seed potatoes is of vital importance, especially for breeding. That is not the case now.

“The Netherlands in particular is troubled by border problems, given the size of the mutual seed potato trade.”

There have been calls by the Scottish seed industry for the UK to remove its current derogation on the phytosanitary requirements for EU seed before 1 July if the EU refuses to recognise the status of UK-grown seed.

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