Scottish potato growers who are tempted to use English seed have been warned that they could undermine the country’s special crop health status.
The warning comes after official figures showed that 18 ware crops were grown from English seed in 2016. Four seed stocks which came from the Non-Protected Region of England were used to plant 12 crops.
Colin Herron, General Manager for Montrose-based McCains Foods GB, told The Scottish Farmer, “We have enough to deal with in Scotland in terms of a challenging climate but we do have the huge advantage of freedom from certain notifiable diseases.
“It is vitally important that Scottish growers use only seed sourced in Scotland from growers in the Safe Haven Scheme. The last time this was an issue was in 2010 and once the problem was pointed out it was dealt with efficiently. It is disappointing to see the problem creeping back in again.”
Alistair Melrose who is chair of AHDB Potatoes’ Seed and Export Committee, added, “I brought this up at a board meeting this week. It is very disappointing that this seems to have slipped below the radar after it being brought to the industry’s attention a few years ago.”
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