Brexit Threat to Scottish Seed Potatoes
Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon (pictured) wrote to Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove to highlight the threat to this premium farm export posed by the replacement of full single market access rights with “third country” status.
Gougeon noted that the ware potato industry, which is of particular importance to other parts of the UK, had been given Defra’s go-ahead to keep importing seed potatoes from the EU for one year following exit day, setting up a “one-way trading relationship” that would specifically disadvantage Scottish seed potato growers, according to thescottishfarmer.co.uk
“In yet another example of this UK Government’s damaging approach to exiting the EU, I am concerned to learn from my officials that you have now made a decision regarding seed potato imports which will fail to protect Scotland’s world class industry. As you will no doubt be aware, seed potatoes from Scotland are world renowned for their high health status: they are of premium quality and are a successful and important part of the Scottish rural economy. We have protected this status by a notification system for imports to Scotland, with our industry voluntarily sourcing all seed potatoes from our domestic supply chain. Scotland currently exports 13.5% of our marketed tonnage of seed potatoes to the EU, generating valuable income for our rural economy,” Gougeon says.